Boy's injury during Northwest Hockey League game spurs suit against league, opponent's parents and officiants

By Annie Cosby | Oct 15, 2014

The father of a boy injured in a youth hockey game is suing the parents of the player he claims caused his son to suffer a brain concussion and the game's officiants for letting that player stay in the game after a handful of penalties.

Scot R. Christiansen, individually and on behalf of his 12-year-old son, filed a lawsuit Oct. 1 in the Cook County Circuit Court against Julie A. Kozil and Anthony F. Zapata, individually and on behalf of their two sons, one of whom played in the game; the Northwest Hockey League; and the game's officiants, Nick Haskel and Chris Galuszka.

According to the complaint, Christiansen's son was injured while playing hockey for the Niles Rangers in a May 11 game against the Hoffman Estates youth hockey club that Kozil and Zapata's 12-year-old son played for.

Christiansen claims Kozil and Zapata's son was assessed five penalties, but the officials, Haskel and Galuszka, allowed him to remain in the game even though league policy states he should have been removed after two penalties.

The suit states the fourth penalty Kozil and Zapata's son allegedly committed caused Christiansen's son to be "boarded" or violently knocked into the boards of the rink, causing a brain concussion.

Christiansen claims Kozil and Zapata's older son  was watching the game with his parents and yelled obscenities and taunted him and his son about the injury. He accuses Kozil and Zapata of encouraging their older son's behavior and failing to restrain or reprimand him.

The suit further accuses the officials of failing to remove the defendant couple's older son from the arena. Christiansen asserts the league suspended Kozil and Zapata's younger son for three games, proving his behavior was deemed unacceptable for youth hockey.

The suit includes counts against Kozil and Zapata, on behalf of their son who played in the game, for battery, negligence and willful and wanton conduct. It also includes an intentional infliction of emotional distress count against the couple, individually and on behalf of their son who watched the game with them.

Northwest Hockey League, Galuszka and Haskel are accused of negligence, willful and wanton conduct, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Christiansen is seeking more than $50,000 in damages and is being represented by attorneys Anthony C. Campanale and Lucy Kirschinger of Anthony Campanale & Associates in Chicago.

Cook County Circuit Court case number: 2014L010267

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed in the Cook County Circuit Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note, a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it only represents one side of the story.

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