Steve Moore (ice hockey)

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Steve Moore
Born (1978-09-22) September 22, 1978 (age 39)
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 210 lb (95 kg; 15 st 0 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Right
Played for Colorado Avalanche
NHL Draft 53rd overall, 1998
Colorado Avalanche
Playing career 2001–2004

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 widely known for suffering a career-ending injury as a result of an on-ice attack from behind by then-Vancouver Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi in 2004. The fall-out from the event has contributed to a growing effort to curb gratuitous violence in hockey, and professional sports in general.

Playing career

Steve Moore was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft in the second round, the 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). At the time of the incident, the Avalanche were first overall in the NHL standings, and Moore was playing on the Avalanche's top line, on Right Wing, with linemates Joe Sakic (Center), and Paul Kariya (Left Wing).

The Bertuzzi incident

On February 16, 2004, during a Vancouver-Colorado game, Moore injured Canucks team captain Markus Näslund with a high hit while Näslund was reaching for a puck through centre ice. Moore 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. After reviewing tapes of the hit, 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.

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 of 8-2 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, pulled him back by the jersey and punched him in the back of the head. As Moore fell unconscious to the ice, Bertuzzi's weight and momentum drove Moore's head into the ice. Moore's teammate Andrei Nikolishin and Bertuzzi's teammate Sean Pronger then piled on to Moore and Bertuzzi. Moore was knocked out and lay motionless for ten minutes before being carried off on a stretcher.[1] The combination of the hit, fall, and piling-on had resulted in three fractured neck vertebrae, facial cuts and a concussion.[2]

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 August 22, 2004, Moore was released from a Denver-area hospital. He wore a neck brace for one year and then started physical therapy for his neck injury and concussion.

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 bounty 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 Canada, where the incident took place. The lawsuit was re-filed in Canada, in February 2006.[3] 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.[4] 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)[5]
  • Bertuzzi's forfeited salary ($501,926.39 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 described the offer as a self-serving attempt by Burke (who was a defendant in the lawsuit) to mitigate potential legal damages, by attempting to suggest Moore was a minor league player. Further, Danson said that Moore would return to the Avalanche except that Moore was not medically cleared to play hockey, which Brian Burke was well aware of, and described it as adding insult to injury.

On August 15, 2005, Bertuzzi broke his 17-month-long silence by 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."[6]

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.[3] 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 very briefly the season prior to the Bertuzzi incident in 2004, made some controversial comments. In an interview with, Parker was quoted as saying "he (Moore) 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." [7][8]

Civil lawsuit

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 for the loss of his NHL career, in his Rookie Year. The lawsuit was seeking $15 million in pecuniary damages for loss of income, $1 million for aggravated damages, and $2 million for punitive damages. Moore's lawyer filed the suit one day before its two-year limitation expired, saying it was because Steve Moore did not want to file the suit and waited until the last minute while he tried to attain medical clearance to resume his career.[9]

Bettman attempted to get Bertuzzi and Moore to agree on an out-of-court settlement in the C$19,500,000 lawsuit filed by Moore.[10] Bertuzzi offered $350,000 to settle the case, an amount which was called "an insult" by Moore's lawyer.[11]

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.[12] In response, Crawford later stated that Bertuzzi acted in "direct disobedience" to orders from the bench to get off the ice before attacking Moore.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15] On July 2, 2014, Moore's lawsuit was amended, seeking $68 million in damages, up from $38 million.[16] On August 19, 2014, it was announced that an out-of-court settlement had been reached in Steve Moore's lawsuit. Terms of the settlement are confidential.[17][18]


Steve Moore's 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.

Career statistics

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1995–96 Thornhill Islanders MetJHL 50 25 27 52 57 18 4 5 9
1996–97 Thornhill Islanders MetJHL 50 34 52 86 52 13 10 11 21 2
1997–98 Harvard University ECAC 33 10 23 33 46
1998–99 Harvard University ECAC 30 18 13 31 34
1999–00 Harvard University ECAC 27 10 16 26 53
2000–01 Harvard University ECAC 32 7 26 33 43
2001–02 Hershey Bears AHL 68 10 17 27 31 8 0 1 1 6
2001–02 Colorado Avalanche NHL 8 0 0 0 4
2002–03 Hershey Bears AHL 58 10 13 23 41 5 0 1 1 4
2002–03 Colorado Avalanche NHL 4 0 0 0 0
2003–04 Hershey Bears AHL 13 4 4 8 6
2003–04 Colorado Avalanche NHL 57 5 7 12 37
NHL totals 69 5 7 12 41

Awards and honors

Award Year
All-ECAC Hockey Rookie Team 1998
Ivy League Rookie of the Year 1998
Harvard Rookie of the Year 1998
Harvard Scoring Leader 1998, 1999, 2000
ECAC Rookie Scoring Leader 1998
ECAC First Team All-Rookie 1998
First Team All-Ivy League 1998, 1999, 2000
Harvard Most Valuable Player (MVP) 1999
All-ECAC First Team 1999
Ivy League Champions 2000
Harvard Hockey Captain 2001
Hershey Bears Rookie of the Year 2002

See also


  1. ^ ESPN Game Summary. 28th March 2004
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-03-18. Retrieved 2011-01-07. 
  3. ^ a b "Moore plans to file appeal in civil case". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-11-21. 
  4. ^ "NHL reinstates Vancouver's Todd Bertuzzi". 2005. Archived from the original on 2008-07-19. Retrieved 2007-02-27. 
  5. ^ Fitzpatrick, Jamie. "The Longest NHL Suspensions". Retrieved 2007-11-21. 
  6. ^ "Bertuzzi: 'I wish that day never happened'". 2005. Retrieved 2007-02-27. 
  7. ^ An Afternoon With Former Avalanche Enforcer Scott Parker: Part 2
  8. ^ Parker defends Bertuzzi attack
  9. ^ "Bertuzzi hit with lawsuit". CBC News. 2006-02-15. Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  10. ^ Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, National Hockey League - Archived 2008-12-07 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Westhead, Rick (November 6, 2007). "Bertuzzi offered Moore $350,000". The Star. Toronto. Retrieved 2007-11-21. 
  12. ^ "Crawford brought into Moore lawsuit". Globe and Mail. 2008-03-28. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  13. ^ "Bertuzzi acted in 'direct disobedience': Crawford". CBC Sports. 2008-08-19. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  14. ^ "Bertuzzi-Moore court documents shed light on ex-NHL player's struggles". Toronto Star. 2013-01-14. Retrieved 2013-01-16. 
  15. ^ Sean Fitz-Gerald (March 9, 2014). "Steve Moore-Todd Bertuzzi case reaches its 10-year anniversary without final resolution". The National Post. Archived from the original on May 7, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2014. 
  16. ^ Michael Drapack (July 2, 2014). "Steve Moore makes 1st appearance at civil trial vs. Todd Bertuzzi". Retrieved July 2, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Todd Bertuzzi settles lawsuit with Steve Moore over on-ice hit". Detroit Free Press. August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  18. ^ Katie Strang (August 19, 2014). "Steve Moore settles decade-old suit". 

External links

  • Biographical information and career statistics from, or Legends of Hockey, or The Internet Hockey Database
  • Victim Impact Statement
  • Moore 'disappointed' by Crown's plea bargain[permanent dead link]
  • Bertuzzi reinstated by the NHL
  • Video of Incident
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