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Todd Bertuzzi is set to return for Detroit, in what will be his 16th NHL season. (Jamie Sabau/Getty)

A civil case pitting former NHL player Steve Moore against Todd Bertuzzi and the Vancouver Canucks could finally see the inside of a courtroom late next year.

The target date for the Ontario Superior Court trial to begin if necessary is Sept. 24, 2012 if Bertuzzi is still an active player, and Oct. 22 if he's not, according to court documents viewed by CBC.

Court-ordered mediation between the sides has failed to lead to a settlement.

Moore, now 33, has never played again since getting hit from behind in a March 8, 2004 game by Bertuzzi, who was on the Canucks. Moore was in his first full season with the Colorado Avalanche.

Bertuzzi, now 36, is entering his 16th NHL season.

Bertuzzi offered a tearful apology at a press conference a few days after the incident, and would ultimately serve a 20-game suspension. He has gone on to play 445 regular season and playoff games with Vancouver, Florida, Anaheim, Calgary, and his current team, the Detroit Red Wings.

Criminal charges filed against Bertuzzi in Vancouver resulted in a guilty plea and a sentence of one year's probation plus 80 hours of community service.

In addition to the players, the legal proceedings have also included examinations of discovery from several big names from the hockey world: Marc Crawford (Vancouver coach's at the time), current Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke (then Vancouver's GM), and longtime NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell, among others.

It was later revealed that when he became GM with Anaheim, Burke offered Moore a two-way playing contract in 2005.

Tim Danson, Moore's agent, dismissed that offer as a ploy to mitigate against potential legal damages down the road.

Moore suffered three fractured vertebrae and told CBC's The National in 2007 that he was still feeling the aftereffects of a severe concussion. The Richmond Hill, Ont., native said at the time it was not possible to undertake strenuous exercise for long stretches.

Moore told CBC that Bertuzzi's selection to the 2006 Canadian Olympic team particularly stung.

Moore and his parents are listed as plaintiffs in the multimillion dollar case.

The defendants in the case are Bertuzzi and Orca Bay, the former owner of the Canucks.

Bertuzzi in 2008 made a third party claim against Crawford. Bertuzzi said in a statement that the Canucks coach told the team during the second intermission of the game that Moore "must pay the price", with Crawford countering that the Vancouver forward acted in "direct disobedience" of the bench.

Moore had scored five goals and seven assists in 57 games before the fateful game.

The Canucks had taken exception to what they deemed a dirty hit by Moore on Vancouver captain Markus Naslund weeks earlier.

The return encounter had newspaper headlines predicting a physical battle, with Wade Brookbank among the Vancouver players stating that Moore would be watched closely. 

For his part, Naslund said publicly beforehand that he didn't want retaliation.

Late in the third period, Bertuzzi trailed Moore for several seconds before punching him from behind with his gloved right hand. Bertuzzi then pushed Moore down to the ice.