More than a decade after the infamous sucker punch occurred on Vancouver home ice, a settlement has been reached in the Todd Bertuzzi-Steve Moore lawsuit.
According to Sportsnet, litigation has been settled outside of the court process, avoiding a trial that would have begun on September 8. The details of the settlement have not been revealed to the public.
Moore had been asking for $68 million to cover injuries incurred, mental and physical distress, loss of income, and the impact it had on his career as a professional hockey player.
The Avalanche player incurred three fractured vertebrae in his neck, vertebral ligament damage, a severe concussion, stretching of the brachial plexus nerves, facial lacerations and amnesia.
The incident occurred on March 8, 2004 when Bertuzzi punched Moore from behind during a home game between the Vancouver Canucks and Colorado Avalanche. Bertuzzi was immediately suspended for seventeen months, causing him to miss a total of 20 games including 7 games during the playoffs. The Canucks were fined $250,000.
B.C. officials placed charges on Bertuzzi for assault causing bodily harm, which he pleaded guilty for. He did not face any prison time as he was given a conditional discharge that required him to fulfill 80 hours of community service and a one-year-long probation. He was also not permitted to play in any hockey game that involved Moore.
About a month earlier before the incident, during a game between the Canucks and the Avalanche, Moore injured Canucks team captain Markus Naslund by checking him in the head. Naslund suffered a minor concussion, a bone chip in his elbow, and was out for three games. He was the lead scorer in the NHL at the time.
The referee did not call a penalty on Moore, a move that was widely criticized by the Canucks and fans.
The March fight had a long-term impact on the franchise and makeup of the team. It caused the “West Coast Express,” a high scoring line consisting of Naslund, Bertuzzi and Brendan Morrison, to disband prematurely. Bertuzzi was traded to the Florida Panthers after the 2005-2006 season while Naslund and Morrison left the Canucks two seasons later.
Feature Image: Vancouver Canucks