Vancouver Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi has been charged with assault causing bodily harm in connection with an incident during a game against the Colorado Avalanche earlier this year.
- INDEPTH: Todd Bertuzzi
During the third period of a game on March 8, Bertuzzi punched Avalanche forward Steve Moore in the head from behind, an alleged attack that resulted in two broken vertebrae and a concussion for Moore.
It was an incident witnessed by thousands of people both at GM Place Stadium and on television.
Moore crumpled to the ice and was carried off on a stretcher. The Colorado player suffered neck injuries and a concussion from the punch.
Now Bertuzzi faces one criminal charge.
Geoff Gaul, spokesman for the Criminal Justice Branch in British Columbia, says nearly four months after the incident, prosecutors have concluded "there is sufficient evidence to charge Mr. Bertuzzi."
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After the attack on Moore, Bertuzzi was suspended for the rest of the season and he has to apply to the NHL for reinstatement before he can play again.
The Vancouver Canucks released a brief statement saying, "we will continue to support Todd and his family throughout this process ..."
The league sent out a terse statement suggesting the incident should not be dealt with in the courts. "We did what we believe was right, for the players involved and the sport as a whole. We, therefore, would have preferred that the Crown not take this action."
But Moore's aunt, Jean deMarco, said Thursday night that his client's injuries are not healing well. "He can't do a lot. he still can't do any physical exertion and that's obviously troubling at this stage." Bertuzzi will be in court in just over two weeks. He has been issued a summons to appear in court on July 9.