Hockey has always been known to be a physical sport; it is full of body checks, hits from behind, sometimes the misuse of the hockey stick, and even fights. Now all off these are deemed acceptable by hockey fans to a certain extent. When a player swings his stick at another player and an injury occurs to the opposing man the instigator can usually expect to be penalized for a short amount of time, maybe even a suspension from the team for a few games. But when does this violent act on the ice become a criminal offence? Does it take for the recipient to break his neck, or maybe even loose his vision for us to take a serious look at what happened and realize that this is not what we are looking to watch when we sit down to watch a game. It seems that in order for us to take a look at it from a legal standpoint there needs to be a serious injury, when there are some things that aren't being taken as serious as they maybe should be.
One of the more popular examples of this is the very recent Todd Bertuzzi case. In this case the defendant who is Todd Bertuzzi being charged with assault causing bodily harm. On the night of March 8th, 2004 in Vancouver, Bertuzzi wished to seek revenge on the plaintiff Steven Moore, after a so called "cheap shot", which Steve Moore hit Bertuzzi's teammate Markus Naslund with an elbow in a previous game. Late in the hockey game Bertuzzi proceeded to skate up behind Moore and grabbed his shoulder and sucker punched' Moore in the side of the head, Moore then fell to the ice while a pile-up of players fell on top of him. Moore suffered fractured vertebrae, nerve damage, and a concussion. Right away this was being looked at by Vancouver Police Officials and the decision was whether or not this should be viewed from a legal standpoint. Arguments went back and forth with opinions after opinions.
The first actions that were taken were from the NHL. They chose to suspend Bertuzzi indefinitely and a fine was sent down. Steve Moore decided to press charges and open up a civil lawsuit against Bertuzzi. The lawsuit that was filed accused Bertuzzi of civil conspiracy, assault, battery, and negligence. Bertuzzi plead guilty to these crimes, but did receive a discharge and would spend no time in jail, nor would he record a criminal record for this case. Today Bertuzzi has resumed his NHL career with the Vancouver Canucks, and Steve Moore is still recovering from his neck injury.
Now in this case Todd Bertuzzi and Steve Moore were both playing a game, the game was hockey. Both players knew the rules and they know that if they do not abide by them they would be penalized. Bertuzzi chose to act on behalf of his teammate and take actions into his own hands by breaking these rules. He broke them in such a severe way that off rink legal action had to be taken. Now, does this mean that every time a player is hit from behind legal action needs to take place. I feel that it is against the rules and would not be tolerated on the streets that maybe we do need to look at events like these from a legal standpoint, if that is the only way to prevent them. Players need to recognize that when they hit someone outside the rules that something bad could happen and that is a lawsuit.
Hockey is a sport, a sport where the objective is to score more goals then the opposing team. For no reason are you to go around with intent to injure your fellow employees. When you break the rules you must be ready to face the repercussions that you will be faced with.
Another on ice incident that took place was former Boston Bruins forward Marty McSorley who on the night of February 21st swung his stick shamelessly at Vancouver forward Donald Brashear. Brashear fell to the ice convulsing. Brashear missed the next six weeks of the season due a mild concussion, and memory lapse, and McSorley was suspended the rest of the season plus playoffs and landed a hefty fine. To this day Brashear still says...
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