Hockey hit probed after player's neck is broken - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3-10-04

Hockey hit probed after player's neck is broken

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore will miss the rest of the season with a fractured neck after a hit by Vancouver's Todd Bertuzzi that prompted a police investigation.

Moore also sustained a concussion and deep facial cuts, the Avalanche said Tuesday. He will remain hospitalized in Vancouver indefinitely, Colorado trainer Pat Karns said.

Bertuzzi has been suspended indefinitely pending a hearing at the NHL office in Toronto on Wednesday.

Moore was slugged in the side of the head by Bertuzzi late in Monday night's game, a 9-2 Colorado victory. Bertuzzi struck him from behind and drove his head into the ice. Moore landed face-first -- with Bertuzzi on top of him -- and lay in a pool of blood for several minutes before he was removed on a stretcher.

B.C. Solicitor General Rich Coleman and Vancouver police said Tuesday a preliminary investigation has begun.

This will be the second time in recent years Vancouver police have become involved in an on-ice hit at an NHL game. Former NHL tough guy Marty McSorley was charged for hitting then-Vancouver Canuck Donald Brashear with his stick in February 2000.

The Avalanche said that when Moore's condition improves, he will be transferred to Craig Hospital in Denver and evaluated by neurosurgeons.

"Steve knows he has the support of the entire Avalanche family and hockey fans throughout the world, and we hope that he recovers as soon as possible," Avalanche president and general manager Pierre Lacroix said.

Vancouver general manager Brian Burke said Bertuzzi was "too distraught" to attend Tuesday's news conference, but the Canucks right wing tried to contact Moore at the hospital.

"That to me shows the sincerity more than any statement that we could issue," Burke said.

"He's remorseful, and relieved that Mr. Moore's injuries at this point appear, that a full recovery should be possible," Burke added.

The general manager said he'll attend the NHL hearing with Bertuzzi.

Bertuzzi, a 6-foot-3, 235-pounder, was an All-Star last season when he was fifth in the league in scoring. This year, he was an All-Star again and has 60 points, 23rd in the league.

Moore is a checking forward on a team stacked with stars. The rookie center has four goals and seven assists this season.

McSorley, while with the Boston Bruins, drew a one-year suspension for using his stick to hit Brashear on the side of the head. Brashear was knocked unconscious and missed 20 games with a concussion.

McSorley was tried in court and received a conditional sentence for assault with a weapon, but his one-year suspension from the NHL ended his 17-year career.

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