posted on Jun, 24 2004 @ 06:52 PM
i think this had to happen, hockey is a violent game but there is no need for this kind of thing...
Canucks' Bertuzzi charged with assault for on-ice punch
June 24, 2004
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- Canucks star Todd Bertuzzi was charged with assault Thursday for a sucker-punch that broke Steve Moore's neck and
left him in a pool of blood, an attack that prompted an outcry about hockey violence.
The charges were announced by the criminal justice branch of the ministry of the attorney general after a four-month investigation.
Bertuzzi was ordered to appear in court July 9. If convicted, the 29-year-old player could face a penalty ranging from jail time to a guilty decision
with no criminal record.
Pat Morris, Bertuzzi's agent, refused to discuss his client's reaction to the decision. ``You hoped the process would have led to an opposite
decision,'' Morris said.
Moore was hospitalized after the March 8 attack with three fractured vertebrae, facial cuts, post-concussion symptoms and amnesia. Nerves in the neck
area were stretched.
Moore last met with the media March 29. It was not known then when, or if, the Colorado Avalanche center would play again. There have been no public
The NHL suspended Bertuzzi for the final 13 games of the regular season and Vancouver's seven playoff games.
The suspension cost Bertuzzi nearly $502,000 of his $6.8 million salary while the Canucks were fined $250,000. Bertuzzi was left off Canada's roster
for this fall's World Cup.
The decision comes on the eve of the NHL's entry draft this weekend in Raleigh, N.C., a showcase event for the league.
Bill Daly, the NHL's chief legal officer, on Thursday called the league's punishment ``stern and swift'' and hoped such ``appropriate'' action would
have kept the case from the courts.
``We did what we believe was right, for the players involved and the sport as a whole,'' he said.
Canucks general manager Dave Nonis said the team will ``continue to support Todd and his family throughout this process,'' but had no further comment.
Avalanche president and general manager Pierre Lacroix said his team will cooperate with authorities if asked. ``Our main concern remains for him to
fully recover,'' he said.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman plans a hearing with Bertuzzi. Last month, Bettman gave no indication when that might happen or if the indefinite
suspension will be lifted.
In 2000, Marty McSorley was charged with hitting Vancouver's Donald Brashear with his stick. McSorley was convicted of assault with a weapon but
received an 18-month conditional discharge, meaning no jail time and no criminal record after probation. The NHL suspended him for a year, ending his
Bertuzzi could get up to 1 1/2 years in jail if tried in provincial court and up to 10 years if the case is heard in British Columbia Supreme Court.
The government will choose the court.
The punch was witnessed by more than 18,000 people at the arena and has been shown repeatedly in TV clips across North America and Europe. Bertuzzi's
only public comment was a tearful apology two nights after the game.
``I had no intention of hurting you,'' he said then. ``I feel awful for what transpired. ... I don't play the game that way. I'm not a mean-spirited
person. I'm sorry for what happened.''
With the Avalanche ahead 8-2, Betuzzi (6-foot-3, 235 pounds) grabbed Moore (6-2, 205) from behind during the third period. He punched him on the side
of his head and then landed on top of Moore, driving his head into the ice. The bloodied Colorado player was removed on a stretcher.
The attack was seen as retaliation for a hit Moore put on Vancouver star Markus Naslund that left the Canuck captain with a concussion and sidelined
him for three games.
This case recalls other instances of on-ice violence in the NHL.
In 1988, Minnesota's Dino Ciccarelli was convicted of assault for hitting Toronto's Luke Richardson on the head with his stick. Ciccarelli was
sentenced to one day in jail and fined.
In 1969, Wayne Maki of St. Louis and Ted Green of Boston became the first NHL players sent to court after a stick-swinging duel in a preseason game.
Both were acquitted of assault charges.
Bertuzzi, one of the league's top forwards, had 17 goals and 43 assists in 69 games this season. Moore had five goals, seven assists in 57 games.