Canucks winger charged after on-ice punch

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Todd Bertuzzi of the
Vancouver Canucks will go on trial Jan. 17 on assault charges for a
blind-side punch that severely injured Colorado Avalanche center
Steve Moore.

The date for Bertuzzi's trial was set Wednesday during a brief
hearing in provincial court that lasted less than five minutes.

Bertuzzi was charged with assault on June 24 after
sucker-punching Moore during a game on March 8. Last week, Bertuzzi
appeared in court to plead not guilty to the charge.

Bertuzzi was not in court Wednesday.

Bertuzzi was suspended indefinitely by the NHL, missing 13
regular-season games and seven postseason games and losing nearly
$502,000 in salary, after his punch to Moore's head.

Moore was hospitalized with three fractured vertebrae, facial
cuts, post-concussion symptoms and amnesia. Nerves in the neck area
were stretched.

Avalanche team doctor Andrew Parker has said it was uncertain
whether Moore will return to professional hockey.

The courthouse where Bertuzzi's trial will be held is the same one that held the trial for Marty McSorley in 2000. McSorley, then with the Bruins, was charged with hitting Vancouver's Donald Brashear with his stick.

McSorley was convicted of assault with a weapon but received an
18-month conditional discharge, meaning no jail time and no
criminal record after probation. The NHL suspended him for a year,
ending his 17-year career.

Bertuzzi faces a maximum sentence of 18 months if convicted.