There was a new participant at Steve Moore's civil trial against Todd Bertuzzi and the former owners of the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday morning in Toronto: Steve Moore.

This was the first time Moore has attended his civil trial since it started in 2006.

His appearance comes as the trial moves into the final phase, appearing now before the actual trial judge after eight years of case management in a different court, in a different building in fact.

"This is our first appearance in front of the trial judge and this case is about Steve's life and him being here shows just how important this case is to him," said Tim Danson, Moore's lawyer.

Moore spoke casually but answered no direct questions about his case.

'Steve Moore is unable to obtain employment commensurate to anywhere near his high intellect and Harvard degree.' - Tim Danson, lawyer for the former NHL player

And it's a case that has almost doubled in value.

Moore is now seeking $68 million in damages, up from $38 million.

The added amount is lost wages from a post-NHL career.

That career came to an end in February 2004 when Todd Bertuzzi, playing for Vancouver, jumped Moore of the Colorado Avalanche from behind, driving his head into the ice. Moore broke three vertebrae and has not played hockey since.

"Steve Moore is unable to obtain employment commensurate to anywhere near his high intellect and Harvard degree," Danson told the court, referring to reports by career experts he has filed.

But the lawyer for Orca Bay, the former owner of the Vancouver Canucks, argued otherwise.

Alan D'Silva referred to applications Moore made to the Harvard and Stanford MBA programs in 2010 in which Moore writes about receiving $104,000 for work.

Moore wrote the Graduate Management Admission Test as part of his applications and scored in the 88th percentile.

Danson countered that the money came from a family business deal and Moore’s role was minimal.

"It's not income from employment in the normal way," said Danson.

Trial to start in September

With the actual trial scheduled to start in September, Judge Todd Archibald granted D'Silva a limited right of discovery to question Moore for 45 minutes about the MBA applications and their contents.

"I'm doing what I think is fair in the circumstances", said Archibald.

It was also revealed that the trial would take at least 12 weeks without a jury, 18 weeks with a jury.

"We anticipate some significant questions raised that would require the jury to be excused," Danson's co-counsel Tom Curry told the court.

Orca Bay and Moore both filed motions supporting a trial by judge alone. Bertuzzi is seeking a trial by jury.

Archibald said this is a "substantive issue" that he did not want to deal with until the trial starts. 

Archibald is worried any decision he makes on this would be open to appeal, thereby delaying the trial ... and he's adamant that after 10 years in the making, the trial will start in September.

"Given the age and history of this case, as gatekeeper, it's absolutely incumbent on me to make sure this starts Sept. 8," Archibald told the court in his closing remarks.