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Former NHLer sued for $1.6 million after delivering career-ending hit

Nov 15, 2012, 12:47 PM EST

KevinMiller Getty Images

Kevin Miller, a veteran of over 600 NHL contests, is being sued by an insurance company for a devastating hit he delivered during a 2000 Swiss League game.

The insurance company, Allianz Suisse Versicherungs-Gesellschaft, is seeking $1.6 million for an incident between Miller — then a member of HC Davos — and Andrew McKim, formerly of the Zurich Lions.

The skinny, from MLive.com:

The incident leading to the injury occurred during a championship game on Oct. 31, 2000, at Zurcher Hallenstadion. Court documents said Miller “jabbed (McKim) with the elbow on the rear upper side of the body.”

McKim hit his head on the ice.

“When the injured party was ‘checked’ from behind, the doctor contended that – as when a person is run over by a car – the injured party initially suffered a whiplash-type blow to the head from behind, and then a massive strike to the front side of the face on the ice,” a translated Swiss judgment said.

In an IIHF piece documenting the incident, the hit reportedly forced McKim to retire from hockey due to a traumatic brain injury and sprain of the cervical spine.

“Just after the collision, McKim’s cognitive skills were so shaky he could not recall if he even had children,” the article states.

The insurance company is asking a federal judge to recognize a Swiss court ruling of $1 million against Miller. In turn, Miller has filed a lawsuit against the Swiss insurance company that represented Davos, contending the insurer agreed to pay the judgement.

Following the hit on McKim, Miller went on to play two more seasons in Davos before returning to North America for the 2003-04 season. He signed with Detroit and played in 71 games with AHL Grand Rapids that year, making four appearances for the Red Wings.

Miller’s brothers, Kip and Kelly, also played in the NHL for a number of clubs. All three are cousins of Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller and Detroit forward Drew Miller.

  1. atwatercrushesokoye - Nov 15, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Sounds like a bad hit but players have to assume there could be something like this happening when they step on the ice. It’s a violent game but really any hit could end your career if it catches you the wrong way or you fall into the boards awkwardly. Also, why stop at career ending? If a player gets hit and has to miss a game or two why not sue for that?….this is a slippery slope.

    • tridecagon - Nov 15, 2012 at 2:16 PM

      It’s not the player who’s suing, it’s the insurance company trying to cover their loss on the injury. Not sure how they’re going to win the case – they insured the salary of a hockey player, who got hurt playing hockey.

  2. jaredphi - Nov 15, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    While I am not familiar with Swiss law, it sounds to me like this lawsuit has no merit and is a frivolous one.

    The insurance company agreed to cover McKim and insured his salary and McKim had an in-force policy with the insurer.

    The insurer knew ice hockey was a dangerous, high-contact sport and McKim knew this as well.

    Miller’s hit ended McKim’s career, leading McKim to have to retire from the sport.

    Thus, the insurer is on the hook for paying McKim his salary and Miller owes the insurer nothing.

    Sounds like a typical insurance firm – attempting to renege on its obligations and provide excuses for not paying out claims….rather than just doing their jobs – and the moral and honorable thing – and paying the claim.

    I find for the defendant Mr. Miller.

  3. captainstabbins - Nov 15, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    I am not a lawyer but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night…I say it is bull poop

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