"He didn't beat me up," Massé says. "He grabbed me, and then he punched the wall. I didn't want to go to court against him. All I wanted to do was have him out for the night. But the cops said to themselves, Now we have big John Kordic. Everybody knows he has a drug problem, and he's running around beating everyone up. He has to learn his lesson."
Kordic was charged with assault. He was prohibited from living with Massé pending an Aug. 11 hearing in court.
Kordic spent 10 days with Cashman, then floated from motel to motel. "He still had a drug problem, and he hated himself for it," Massé says. "He was always saying that it was because of his father. John never accepted his father's death. He said there were times that he could feel his father inside him, especially when he was high."
Kordic told Massé that he wanted to have kids. She told him he had to stop taking steroids first. "He said he had no problem with that, but that he was 27 and there were a lot of guys in the NHL who were younger and stronger than him." says Massé. "He said, 'I have to be able to beat them up if I am able to get my chance. My last chance.' "
On the day he died, Kordic showed up at the Motel Maxim on the Boulevard Hamel at around 4:30 p.m., his face bruised and his knuckles bloodied. Gasping for breath, he paid the clerk $100 and checked into room 205. A few hours later he started making vulgar, abusive phone calls to the front desk. At around 10 p.m. the motel's beleaguered manager called the police.
Two Ancienne-Lorette town gendarmes soon arrived. They knocked on the door of Kordic's room and tried to calm him down. He was walking around the room, obviously agitated, hitting himself in the chest and swearing. He had ripped the door of a wardrobe off its hinges, broken a mirror and pulled pictures off the walls. There was blood on the bedsheets.
Soon after, seven more policemen materialized outside the lime-green room. Leaving their weapons in the hallway, the officers moved in. "Don't touch me!" Kordic screamed. En masse, the nine policemen wrestled Kordic to the floor, handcuffed him, carried him out of the room, down the steps and into a waiting ambulance. Seven minutes after the ambulance left the motel, Kordic passed out. He could not be revived.
An autopsy listed the cause of death as lung failure due to heart malfunction. Also, pathologists discovered needle marks on one of Kordic's arms. Blood and tissue samples were taken, but authorities say it could take as long as a month before the results are in.
Police removed 40 unused syringes from room 205, along with a box of vials labeled as anabolic steroids, some of which were half empty. Kordic's irrational behavior was consistent with a phenomenon known as steroid rage. "Everybody knows that steroids can enhance the aggressiveness, the temper, the sexual drive," says Pierre Beauchemin, the Nordiques' team doctor. "For people who are already aggressive human beings, steroids can put them over the edge."
His weight, at death, was a muscular 238. The excess fluid that was found in his lungs during the autopsy could have been a side-effect of long-term steroid use, but the track marks on his arm are unaccounted for. Says Massé, "John always shot the steroids into the left side of his butt."