Hill-Murray hockey players file suit against high school sports league to stay in tournament after possible COVID exposure | #sports | #elderly | #seniors
The lawsuit was filed by nine Hill-Murray senior hockey players.
SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Some members of Hill-Murray’s boys hockey team are taking legal action against the Minnesota State High School League.
The team wants to play at the state tournament on Wednesday but might be forced to forfeit because of a possible exposure to COVID-19.
Bob Kaufman is a parent and spokesperson for the Hill-Murray Hockey team.
He is speaking on behalf of nine seniors who jointly filed a lawsuit against the league.
“What is happening, this is criminal to these kids,” Kaufman says.
“I played in the state tournament. I experienced that dream myself and I don’t want that to be taken away from them.”
According to the league, the team Hill-Murray beat last Wednesday to get into the tournament had a player test positive for COVID.
And being that the two teams played against each other, the league states there’s a chance that some Hill-Murray players may have been exposed.
Kaufman says the game tape shows that’s very unlikely.
“We studied the tape and no one player on our team has been on the ice with that player for more than one minute and 48 seconds. No one player on our team has had close contact with that player for more than four seconds,” Kaufman explains.
The lawsuit argues Hill-Murray should be allowed to play on Wednesday because there’s little to no chance that any players were actually exposed.
Kaufman says the players were all wearing their masks, and so far, none of them have tested positive for COVID.
“Everybody feels healthy. There is not a single sniffle in that locker room. It’s just unjust that they can’t play,” Kaufman says.
But if the Minnesota State High School League remains adamant that Hill-Murray cannot play their game on Wednesday, the lawsuit also states another option, to play one day later, on Thursday.
Kaufman says Thursday would be one week since the team’s possible exposure and playing the game then would allow them to follow league rules and state health department guidelines.
“There are no other boys games scheduled for Thursday. It would be easy and convenient to do and even that we were told no,” Kaufman explains.
KARE 11 reached out to the Minnesota State High School League to see if Thursday would be an option.
The league responded saying quote, “the league does not comment on pending, threatened or existing litigation.”
Hill-Murray High School also tweeted out a statement Monday night that said:
“We’re working with the MN Dept. of Health and the MN State High School League to determine the eligibility of our boys varsity hockey players following a potential COVID exposure with an opposing player. We hope our boys will be playing in the State Tournament this week.”
While they wait for a decision, the Hill-Murray players are planning to show up for their game at the Xcel Energy Center at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday morning suited up and ready to play.
The Hill-Murray Pioneers are scheduled to face the Wayzata Trojans.