Canucks star Todd Bertuzzi was charged with assault yesterday for a sucker punch that broke Steve Moore's neck and left him in a pool of blood, an attack that prompted an outcry about hockey violence.
The charges were announced by the criminal justice branch of the ministry of the attorney general in Vancouver, British Columbia, after a four-month investigation.
Bertuzzi was ordered to appear in court July 9. If convicted, the 29-year-old could face a penalty ranging from jail time to a guilty decision with no criminal record.
Pat Morris, Bertuzzi's agent, refused to discuss his client's reaction to the decision.
Moore was hospitalized after the March 8 attack with three fractured vertebrae, facial cuts, post-concussion symptoms, and amnesia. Nerves in the neck area were stretched.
Moore, who played at Harvard, last met with the media March 29. It was not known then when, or if, the Colorado Avalanche center would play again. There have been no public updates since.
The NHL suspended Bertuzzi for the final 13 games of the regular season and the playoffs.
The suspension cost Bertuzzi nearly $502,000 of his $6.8 million salary. Bertuzzi was left off Canada's roster for this fall's World Cup.
The decision comes on the eve of the NHL's entry draft this weekend in Raleigh, N.C., a showcase event for the league.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman plans a hearing with Bertuzzi. Last month, Bettman gave no indication when that might happen or if the indefinite suspension will be lifted.
Bertuzzi could get up to 1 1/2 years in jail if tried in provincial court and up to 10 years if the case is heard in British Columbia Supreme Court.
The government will choose the court.
Stars re-sign Arnott
The Dallas Stars re-signed center Jason Arnott to a one-year contract. Arnott scored 21 goals last season for his sixth straight 20-goal season and led the Stars in assists (36). The Stars also re-signed defenseman Jon Klemm to a two-year contract with a club option for a third year.