Several former National Hockey League stars held off a challenge by league owners and stand to gain a share of approximately $30 million in pension assets a Toronto court said were improperly withdrawn by owners in the early 1980s.
The Ontario Court of Appeals upheld a 1992 lower court judgment ordering the return of the surplus pension funds. In that ruling, the court said the funds had been withdrawn by owners and used to reduce plan contributions after 1982 and to fund additional benefits for players who retired after 1986 (Pensions & Investments, Nov. 9, 1992). That decision was appealed by the owners.
The original lawsuit seeking restoration of the surplus pension funds to players who retired before 1982 was filed by seven former players including Hall of Famers Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull. Attorneys estimate as many as 1,000 former players could benefit from the Ontario court ruling.
NHL owners have not decided whether to appeal the decision.