It has been a winding road these last two weeks, but Steve Moore and his lawyer Tim Danson confirmed Thursday that a settlement has been reached in the suit the former Colorado Avalanche forward brought against Todd Bertuzzi and the Vancouver Canucks.
Bertuzzi's lawyer had claimed the settlement was reached two weeks ago. The Canucks also released a statement about a settlement being reached. Danson, who remained quiet despite very public statements from the other side, saw it differently, however.
From the Canadian Press (via TSN.ca):
Bertuzzi's lawyer confirmed the settlement two weeks ago, but Moore's lawyer, Tim Danson, says that it's his opinion that there was no "binding and enforceable settlement until the language of the settlement documents was agreed to by all parties," which he says happened today.
The suit was scheduled to go to trial on Sept. 8, more than 10 years after Moore was assaulted by Bertuzzi in a March 2004 game between the Avalanche and Canucks.
According to reports, Moore was seeking $68 million in damages, in part to recoup lost wages from having his NHL career ended by the injuries he sustained from the hit.
Moore alleged that the Canucks were out for retribution after he delivered a questionable hit on Markus Naslund in a previous game. The incident culminated with Bertuzzi punching Moore in the back of the head and driving him into the ice.
The hit left Moore with a concussion and three fractured vertebrae. He claims the injuries have had long-lasting effects.
Here is an excerpt from Moore's complete statement on the settlement, sent through his legal representation:
The legal case for the loss of my NHL career is over. I have accepted a settlement agreement which has now been finalized and signed by all the parties.
This day comes with mixed emotions. I am extremely thankful for the compassion and encouragement of so many people over the past decade. These years have been very difficult for me and my family. The injuries I sustained in my rookie year, the years I spent trying to return to my NHL career, and dealing with the loss of my career and the ensuing legal case, have been long and trying experiences. While nothing replaces the loss of one's dream, I am happy my family will no longer be burdened by an unresolved legal case, and I am grateful to be able to move forward.
While my own hockey career was cut short, my love for the game has never diminished.
Moore was in the middle of his first full-time season in the NHL with the Avalanche at the time of his injury. He never played competitive hockey again after 69 career NHL games.
Though the terms of the settlement will never be public, this will hopefully bring some closure for all parties. This incident will remain a painful, but important reminder for the NHL that its violence can go too far sometimes and that all players should do their best to treat each other and the game with respect.