McSorley Says He Defended NHL
Tuesday, October 10th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
TORONTO (AP) â€” Marty McSorley insists he took the rap for the NHL during his assault trial, when he could have aired the league's dirty laundry to save himself.
``I absolutely refused to put the game of hockey on trial,'' he said. ``I could have had coaches, general managers, Hall of Famers testify. I could have showed hours of videos, which would have showed ugly incidents of what really happens in the NHL. I didn't feel that was necessary. I didn't want to turn this into a circus.''
McSorley spoke to the Toronto Sun, Vancouver Province and the Eagle-Tribune of Lawrence, Mass., in his first extensive remarks since he was convicted on Friday of assault with a weapon for striking Vancouver's Donald Brashear in the head with his stick.
``It's unfortunate that the only place I was able to bring light upon the situation was in a court of law,'' he said. ``Many people wanted this to be a trial about violence in hockey and I did my best to steer away from that.''
McSorley said he received much support from players who encouraged him to tell all.
``So many of these guys looked upon this and told me to do the best I could do. They told me, `Don't worry about the game. You have your own life to live.' I couldn't do that,'' he said in the newspapers on Sunday.
McSorley escaped jail time and was placed on 18 months' probation. He is dismayed at the reasoning of Judge Bill Kitchen, who rejected McSorley's contention that the hit was intended for Brashear's shoulder.
``It wasn't something I made up to cover myself,'' he said. ``It really bothered me to hear the judge look at the tape and make assumptions contrary to what I know to be the truth.''
Vancouver coach Marc Crawford angered McSorley when he testified that he has never sent any player on the ice to fight.
``Let's just say I had players volunteering to give contradictory testimony,'' said McSorley, who refused to identify the players.
McSorley told the newspapers he has borne the cost of his legal fees, which are at least $200,000. The NHL Players' Association has paid for some Vancouver hotel rooms and a conference room in Los Angeles.
So far he has had no help from the league or the Boston Bruins, whom McSorley played for at the time.
The 37-year-old defenseman says he intends to see NHL commissioner Gary Bettman about reinstatement in the next 10 days. He told the newspapers he's had feelers from teams and is considering playing in Germany.
McSorley says the ruling may make it increasingly difficult for him to do his job.
The enforcer's job is to keep stars healthy and focused on the finesse part of the game,'' he said. ``Maybe the enforcer's role will be obsolete. ... I used fighting to show I could grow as a player, and I think I did.''