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Hockey Team, Player Liable for ‘Sniping’ Injury

(CN) - A hockey trainer who had a puck shot in his face while a player was "sniping" -- lining up water bottles and shooting pucks at them -- can sue the team and the player, an Illinois appeals court ruled.

Michael Weisberg was refilling water bottles for the Chicago Steel amateur hockey team when Cody Lampl fired a puck that hit him in the eye.

Weisberg claimed that Lampl was not playing in a normal hockey game, but was instead "sniping."

Weisberg suffered permanent vision loss and sued the team for negligence and willful and wanton conduct.

The trial court dismissed the case, but Justice Susan Hutchinson of the 2nd District Court of Appeals reinstated the negligence claims.

Hutchison ruled that the "contact sports rule" does not apply in this case.

"Unlike body checking, shooting pucks at water bottles located in the bench area, as opposed to shooting pucks at a goal or at other targets within the ice rink, is not an inherent part of the sport of hockey," Hutchinson wrote.

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