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Adding Insults to Injury

Posted on Friday 23 December 2005

bertuzzipunch.jpg That picture to the left (click for larger) shows the last moment that Steve Moore was upright on the ice, just seconds before Todd Bertuzzi sucker punched him from behind, pushed his head into the ice as Moore collapsed, fell on top of him and gave a black eye to an entire professional sport. Bertuzzi broke three vertebrae in Moore’s neck, gave him a concussion and other “less serious” injuries like ligament damage in his neck and facial cuts. Bertuzzi was banned from hockey for less than half a season; he pleaded guilty to assault in a court in Vancouver (where the game was played) and was sentenced to probation and community service. Steve Moore has never played hockey since.

Moore filed a civil suit against Bertuzzi and others in Denver, claiming that the attack was essentially ordered by the Canuck’s coaches. The judge dismissed the case, saying that since the attack occurred in Canada the trial should be held there. Obviously both Moore and Bertuzzi incurred significant legal costs in Denver; now Bertuzzi wants Moore to pay his legal expenses since the suit was dismissed. To recap: Bertuzzi attacks Moore, the attack was videotaped, Moore sues, the suit is tossed for technical reasons, and now Moore should pay his attacker’s legal fees? I could understand if this were a nuisance suit dismissed for lack of merit, but that hardly describes this situation. Moore has already agreed to pay half of Bertuzzi’s costs in Colorado, which speaks volumes about the man. Bertuzzi should slink away and be grateful.

The greater insult to Moore was delivered by Wayne Gretzky and his partners who picked the Canadian Olympic hockey team. You might think they’d take the opportunity to showcase the guy who’s leading the race for NHL Rookie of the Year, Sidney Crosby, on the grand stage of the Olympics. Or take Marc Savard, Patrick Marleau, Brendan Shanahan or Alex Tanguay to Torino, all of whom are in the top 25 scorers in the NHL. Nope. Gretzky and Co. opted for the convicted thug Bertuzzi. Scant international experience and having an extremely mediocre season, Bertuzzi apparently represents the best that Canada has to offer; he’s no doubt the embodiment of the Olympic spirit. Let’s review the Olympic athlete’s oath:

“In the name of all competitors, I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules that govern them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams.”

According to this article Kevin Lowe, Team Canada’s assistant executive director, contributed this craven bit:

“We’re proud to have him. As human beings and in life and in this country, I think a big part of being Canadian is being able to forgive.”

“Proud to have him?” Morris Della Costa, writing in the London Free Press, said it well:

You used to be proud of your kids when they had a buck and decided to give it to someone who didn’t have any money, or when there were choices to make and they wound up making the right one or when they saw someone being bullied and stood up for them.

I guess the word proud has taken on a different meaning.

I don’t think I’ll cheer for a team that uses the word “proud” the way Team Canada used it when it selected Bertuzzi.

Indeed. Steve Moore is Canadian. I wonder if anyone from Team Canada has called him to see if he’s proud that Bertuzzi’s going to wear his country’s flag in Torino.

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