McSorley Testifies Blow Was an Accident

ByABC News
September 27, 2000, 5:42 PM

V A N C O U V E R, British Columbia, Sept. 27 -- A veteran National HockeyLeague brawler calmly explained the ritualistic world of hockeyfighting today, but said the on-ice attack that landedhim with an assault charge was an accident.

Marty McSorley, the first NHL player since 1988 to facecriminal charges for an on-ice incident, admitted he swung hisstick to provoke a fight with fellow hockey tough guy DonaldBrashear but was absolutely not aiming for his head.

Answering questions from his attorney, the 17-year NHLveteran defended the use of fighting in hockey and said he sawhis role as that of a policeman who protected his teammatesand honor of his team.

I think that fighting comes from the heart, saidMcSorley, whose fighting skills have also made him the thirdmost penalized player in NHL history.

Fight Sparks Debate

McSorley, who played last season for the Boston Bruins, wascharged with criminal assault for a stick attack at the end ofa game on Feb. 21, that left Brashear of the Vancouver Canucksbleeding and unconscious on the ice.

Fights are relatively common in professional hockey games,but the slashing incidents apparent viciousness sparked debateabout hockey violence especially in Canada where the sport isclose to a national religion.

Replays of the slash have been shown over and over again onCanadian television.

The attack happened in the closing seconds of game won byVancouver and during which the men had already fought once andwhich Brashear had also collided with Bostons goalie whichcaused an uproar among Bostons players.

Aiming For the Shoulder

It became pretty obvious to me that I was put out there toconfront Donald, McSorley answered when asked why Bostonscoaches had put him back on the ice with less than 30 secondsremaining in the game.

McSorley, testifying with the aid of a slow-motion videorecording of the event, said as he swung his stick at Brashearfrom behind he was aiming for the shoulder and did not know hehad hit Brashears head until after Brashear had fallen.