September 24, 1997 in Sports

Puck In Face Doesn’t Give Woman Right To Sue

Associated Press

A woman who was struck in the face by a puck and knocked unconscious during a minor league hockey game cannot sue for damages.

Andrea Moulas took certain risks when attending the 1994 Milwaukee Admirals game, the 1st District Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

The Admirals are protected by the “baseball rule,” which bars spectators who are injured by flying baseballs from suing the team, the court said.

“She knew that the puck could leave the ice during games and strike the Plexiglas screen that separates the rink from the spectator area,” Appeals Court Judge Ted Wedemeyer wrote for the court.

The judges also noted that an announcer warned spectators before each game period about the danger by telling them to “keep both eyes” on the puck during the game. A game program also advised against the possible danger.

In a dissenting opinion, Judge Ralph Adam Fine said the “baseball rule” does not apply because Moulas made an effort to get a seat behind the plastic shield.

Moulas was knocked out and severely cut in October 1994 after the puck hit her as she sat in the second row of seats behind a plastic shield. She said she didn’t see the puck before she was hit.

Admirals general manager Phil Wittliff says a few people get hit by pucks every year.

Usually, the team will try to compensate fans by offering them souvenirs or tickets for the next game, Wittliff said.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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