September 22, 1978 |
Windsor, ON, CAN
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight||210 lb (95 kg; 15 st 0 lb)|
|Played for||Colorado Avalanche|
|NHL Draft||53rd overall, 1998
Steven Francis Moore (born September 22, 1978) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey center who played in parts of three National Hockey League (NHL) seasons with the Colorado Avalanche. Moore is perhaps best known for receiving what turned out to be a career-ending injury as a result of an on-ice attack from then-Vancouver Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi in 2004.
Steve Moore, older brother Mark, and younger brother, Dominic, all played four years at Harvard University. Because of their relative closeness in age, all three were able to play in the same year for Harvard during the 1999–2000 season. Dominic also went on to play in the NHL.
NHL playing career
He was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft in the second round, being 53rd pick overall. Moore played in 69 games for the Avalanche from 2001 to 2004, scoring five goals and seven assists, all of which were scored in the latter season, before being seriously injured by Todd Bertuzzi who at the time played for the Vancouver Canucks (see below).
Due to continued post-concussion syndrome, Colorado opted not to give him a qualifying offer after his rookie contract expired, and he has had minimal contact with the Avalanche ever since. Moore also turned down a two-way contract from the Anaheim Ducks.
The Bertuzzi incident
On February 16, 2004, during a Vancouver-Colorado game, Moore injured Canucks team captain Markus Näslund with a blindside hit while Näslund was reaching for a puck through centre ice. Moore's shoulder contacted Näslund's head in the play. No penalty was called in connection with the hit, but Näslund suffered a concussion and a bone chip in his elbow as a result, and missed three games. The NHL ruled that the hit was legal and did not fine or suspend Moore. Canucks head coach Marc Crawford and general manager Brian Burke publicly criticized the non-call by the referees on the incident. Vancouver players indicated that they would get even with Moore, with left winger Brad May stating that he would put a bounty on Moore's head.
During the next game between the Canucks and Avalanche held in Denver, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL executive vice-president Colin Campbell attended the game, which ended in a tie and saw no major incidents break out.
However, on March 8, 2004, during another rematch between the Avalanche and Canucks, things went differently. In the first period, Moore fought Vancouver player Matt Cooke in a fairly even brawl, and served the 5-minute penalty for fighting. The Avalanche would go on to build up a large lead in a fight-filled game. Late in the third period, Todd Bertuzzi was sent onto the ice. After failing to instigate Moore to fight, Bertuzzi skated after Moore, punched him in the back of the head, and fell on top of him, followed by Moore's teammate Andrei Nikolishin and Bertuzzi's teammate Sean Pronger. Moore was knocked out and lay motionless for ten minutes before being carried off on a stretcher. The combination of the hit, fall, and piling-on had resulted in three fractured neck vertebrae, facial cuts and a concussion.
Bertuzzi was assessed a match penalty for his actions, which carries an automatic indefinite suspension under NHL rules. On March 11, 2004, the NHL announced Bertuzzi would remain suspended for at least the remainder of the Canucks' season, including any playoff games. The IIHF subsequently honoured the NHL suspension, preventing Bertuzzi playing in any international tournaments or leagues during the 2004–05 NHL lockout.
On February 17, 2005, Moore filed a civil lawsuit against Bertuzzi. Also named were Brad May (who was quoted as saying that there would "definitely be a price on Moore's head" after the game), Brian Burke and the Canucks organization. The lawsuit was thrown out in October 2005, with the judge suggesting that the lawsuit be re-filed in Vancouver, where the incident took place. Eventually re-filed in Canada, the lawsuit is still open.
On August 8, 2005, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced that Bertuzzi would be allowed to play again at the start of the 2005–06 NHL season. In the league's decision, they cited many reasons for ending the suspension, such as:
- Bertuzzi serving a suspension of 20 games, which at the time tied for 4th longest in NHL history (13 regular season games, 7 playoff games)
- Bertuzzi's repeated attempts to apologize to Moore personally
- Bertuzzi's forfeited salary ($501,926.39 USD)
- Lost endorsements (approximately $350,000.00 USD)
- Significant uncertainty, anxiety, stress and emotional pain caused to Bertuzzi's family
- The commissioner's belief that Bertuzzi was genuinely remorseful and apologetic for his actions
On August 12, 2005, Brian Burke, formerly Vancouver's general manager who was now serving in the same capacity with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, had made an offer to Moore. It was a two-way contract that would have paid Moore $475,000 US in the NHL and $75,000 if the player suited up for Portland, the Ducks' American Hockey League affiliate. Moore's lawyer Tim Danson objected that Moore was considered a minor league player by Burke. Danson also described the offer as a self-serving attempt to mitigate potential legal damages, saying that Moore was not medically cleared to play hockey and describing it as adding insult to injury.
On August 15, 2005, Bertuzzi broke his 17-month-long silence by once again admitting to his mistake and expressing a desire to move on with his life. "I'm sure just like Steve Moore and his family, it's been difficult for both parties. I know I wish that day never happened. It's been some tough times, but I've got good family and good friends and good peers in the league that have helped me get over the hump and move forward and come through it."
On November 8, 2005, Moore's Toronto-based lawyer, Tim Danson, said that Moore was skating and doing regular workouts, but continued to suffer concussion-related symptoms. He continued working out for some years afterward, but had to abandon his comeback attempt when it became apparent he would never be medically cleared to return to the ice again.
In July, 2012, former Avalanche enforcer Scott Parker, who had been a teammate of Moore's the season prior to the Bertuzzi incident in 2004, made some controversial comments. In an interview with milehighhockey.com, Parker defended Bertuzzi and spoke disparagingly of Moore, being quoted as saying "he (Moore) always thought he was better than everybody else. He went to Harvard, you know what, blow me. College grad. I never went to college, but I can kick your ass. I'll bring you right down to my IQ level if you want. I'll hit you about four times in the skull, that'll bring you right down." 
On February 16, 2006, Moore filed a civil suit in the province of Ontario against Bertuzzi, the Canucks, and the parent company of the Canucks, Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment seeking $15 million in pecuniary damages for loss of income, $1 million for aggravated damages, and $2 million for punitive damages. Moore's parents, who were watching their son on television when the attack happened, are also suing, seeking $1.5 million "for negligent infliction of nervous shock and mental distress."(all figures in Canadian dollars). Moore's lawyer filed the suit one day before its two-year limitation expired, denying there was any connection between the timing and the 2006 Winter Olympics of which Bertuzzi participated in.
Bettman attempted to get Bertuzzi and Moore to agree on an out-of-court settlement in the CA$19.5 million lawsuit filed by Moore. Bertuzzi offered $350,000 to settle the case, an amount which was called "an insult" by Moore's lawyer.
On March 28, 2008, Bertuzzi filed a lawsuit against Crawford, alleging that he was contractually obliged to obey Crawford and that therefore Crawford shares responsibility for the injury to Moore. In response, Crawford later stated that Bertuzzi acted in "direct disobedience" to orders from the bench to get off the ice before attacking Moore. On January 14, 2013, The Toronto Star reported that both Moore v. Bertuzzi, et al. and Bertuzzi v. Crawford would begin, after having been postponed several times, in April 2013. Both cases will be held in the Ontario Superior Court before a six person jury. Danson said that neurosurgeons working with Moore had determined Moore had suffered a "permanent brain injury" so severe that it had done "serious damage to his post-NHL career." Moore himself has said that he still experiences headaches and difficulty concentrating.
On January 4, 2012, Bertuzzi dropped his third-party lawsuit against Crawford.
In the month of October 2013, it was announced that the court date for Moore v. Bertuzzi, et al. will begin on September 8, 2014.
Awards and honors
|All-ECAC Hockey Rookie Team||1997–98|
- "Burke offered contract to Steve Moore: documents". CBC News. 2009-09-26.
- ESPN Game Summary. 28th March 2004
- "Moore plans to file appeal in civil case". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-11-21.
- "NHL reinstates Vancouver's Todd Bertuzzi". NHL.com. 2005. Retrieved 2007-02-27.
- Fitzpatrick, Jamie. "The Longest NHL Suspensions". Retrieved 2007-11-21.
- "Bertuzzi: 'I wish that day never happened'". ESPN.com. 2005. Retrieved 2007-02-27.
- An Afternoon With Former Avalanche Enforcer Scott Parker: Part 2 http://www.milehighhockey.com/2012/7/17/3089858/an-afternoon-with-former-avalanche-enforcer-scott-parker
- Parker defends Bertuzzi attack http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/2012/07/18/20001901.html
- "Bertuzzi hit with lawsuit". CBC News. 2006-02-15. Retrieved 2009-01-22.
- Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, National Hockey League - CBSSports.com
- Westhead, Rick (November 6, 2007). "Bertuzzi offered Moore $350,000". The Star (Toronto). Retrieved 2007-11-21.
- "Crawford brought into Moore lawsuit". Globe and Mail. 2008-03-28. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
- "Bertuzzi acted in 'direct disobedience': Crawford". CBC Sports. 2008-08-19. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
- "Bertuzzi-Moore court documents shed light on ex-NHL player’s struggles". Toronto Star. 2013-01-14. Retrieved 2013-01-16.
- Maki, Allan (2011-03-07). "Seven years later, Steve Moore still haunted by hit". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2012-06-14.
- Victim Impact Statement
- Moore 'disappointed' by Crown's plea bargain
- Bertuzzi reinstated by the NHL
- Video of Incident