Jail not in the game, fans say

BRIAN GRAY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:09 AM ET

Local beer-league hockey players are onside with the plan not to have Todd Bertuzzi serve any jail time for an on-ice attack late last season.

The Vancouver Canucks forward pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm yesterday, and in exchange Crown attorney Garth Loeppky requested a conditional discharge with no criminal record for Bertuzzi.

Judge Herb Weitzel accepted the no-jail, no-record plea bargain last night.

"I think he's served a significant penalty already," Al Samulewitsch said before his game at Chesswood Arena last night.

SUCKER PUNCH

"There was a lot of emotion involved in the incident -- I didn't agree he should have been charged in the first place."

Bertuzzi sucker-punched Colorado Avalanche player Steve Moore during a game on March 8, then jumped on his back and drove him into the ice.

Moore suffered a concussion and two broken vertebrae, among other injuries.

The NHL immediately suspended Bertuzzi indefinitely, but he wasn't charged criminally until June 24.

David DeVries, who plays on a military base team from the nearby Area Support Unit Toronto, supported the decision to charge Bertuzzi for the sucker punch.

"It would have been different if it was an open fight between two players," DeVries said.

However, he doesn't think jail time was warranted for the offence, saying Bertuzzi has already paid enough for his actions with the loss of playing time.

END SUSPENSION

"But it is important that they send a message to kids and let them know there's no place in hockey for that kind of behaviour," DeVries said. "You don't want them stepping in and doing the same thing."

DeVries' teammate, John Fleet, said the NHL suspension should be lifted as soon as Bertuzzi's criminal proceedings are finished.

"If there's not going to be custodial sentence, it should be tied to him completing any community service," Fleet said.

"Once that's done, he should be able to play again."


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