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Former Hawks Daniel Carcillo, Nick Boynton sue NHL over brain injuries

Daniel Carcillo played three seasons for the Blackhawks. | John J. Kim/Sun-Times

Former Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo and defenseman Nick Boynton are suing the NHL for withholding information about traumatic brain injuries.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday by the Chicago firm Corboy & Demetrio in U.S. District Court in Minnesota, claims the NHL is a ‘‘league of denial’’ that didn’t give players proper information about concussions and the long-term effects of repeated blows to the head.

Carcillo and Boynton allege they suffered repeated brain injuries, including concussions, through their pro hockey careers. Carcillo played nine seasons in the NHL and Boynton 11. The suit also claims the league ‘‘allowed and encouraged’’ players to play through concussions.

‘‘The NHL is long overdue in acknowledging the significant risks inherent in their style of game,’’ said William T. Gibbs, one of the two attorneys representing Carcillo and Boynton. ‘‘Daniel Carcillo, Nick Boynton and others have seen firsthand how playing in the NHL can cause CTE [chronic traumatic encephalopathy].’’

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Carcillo, nicknamed ‘‘Car Bomb’’ for his aggressive style of play, has been working to raise awareness of brain injuries hockey players suffer. He also has been vocal about the lack of support the NHL offers its players.

After the suit was filed, Carcillo tweeted he will ‘‘continue to apply pressure to people in charge of providing care to current and former players.’’ He also wrote that he will donate any money he receives from the suit to concussion research and the Carrick Institute, which studies clinical neuroscience.

‘‘I’m doing this on behalf of all former NHL players that are struggling with the difficulties of transitioning from a life in the NHL with brains that have been damaged,’’ Carcillo said in a statement. ‘‘Players today are still being denied proper care for concussions.’’