Growing up with my two brothers in Thornhill, Ont., I had dreams of playing in the NHL for as long as I can remember. From the time I started skating at two and a half, to playing on my first hockey team at age four, my passion and love for the game only grew with time. I was extremely focused at an early age, and even in elementary school I was already channelling my energies toward pursuing a career in hockey. Every day when I got home from school, I headed out to the garage to shoot pucks, to improve my shot.
Then it was into the house for supper, finish up homework for school, and head back outside with my brothers, where we would play ball hockey on the street in front of our house, hour after hour. Every Saturday night, when we weren't playing a game with one of our many teams, we would be at home huddled around the TV to watch Hockey Night in Canada. I loved watching my heroes play - Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, among many others. I dreamed that one day I would be out there myself, playing in the National Hockey League.
As I reflect on the impact this attack has had on me, both on my health and on my life as a whole, I am overwhelmed. There is not one single piece of my life where I do not find myself severely and profoundly affected. Everything has changed. The toll that all of these cumulative effects have had on my health and my life, and in my relationships with family and friends, cannot be measured. I think back to anxiously looking forward to being a part of the greatest championship in sports, the Stanley Cup playoffs; thrilled at embarking on such a monumental journey, with such special teammates. Those experiences were taken away from me, and I can never get them back. So many extraordinary experiences that I so unfairly missed out on, are now gone forever. My whole career, built upon the hard work, discipline and commitment of my entire life, and fuelled by a persistent dream, has been halted in its tracks.
My concerns now are no longer those shared with my teammates, such as whether we will win tonight or how I will play. My concern is, will I ever play again? And more fundamentally than that, how much of the damage to my health, physical abilities, mental capacities, family life, personal relationships and future, is permanent and
The Victim Impact Statement Form provided to me by Crown Counsel asked me to comment on how I feel regarding contact with the accused. I have no desire to interact with him in any way. I would respectfully request that should I regain my health and someday be able to get back to playing, that Todd Bertuzzi never be permitted to participate in any sporting activity in which I am competing.