Politics Invade Hockey (after alleged cultural slur)

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Hockey on carpet over Doan

Parliamentary committee summons Hockey Canada over Shane Doan's captaincy

May 01, 2007 04:53 PM

Canadian Press

OTTAWA ? Hockey Canada officials are being summoned by a parliamentary committee to explain their choice of Shane Doan as captain of the national team at the IIHF World Hockey Championship.

The Conservatives, Liberals, and NDP supported a Bloc Quebecois motion today that demands officials from Hockey Canada and Sport Canada appear before the House of Commons' Official Languages Committee.

At issue is an alleged derogatory remark made by Doan toward a French-Canadian referee during a game in 2005. The Phoenix Coyotes forward has denied making any slurs and was cleared by the NHL.

A committee clerk said two federally funded ? but arm's-length ? bodies are being asked to appear Thursday.

Doan scored the winning goal in Canada's 4-2 win over Norway on Monday but that was about the time that some opposition members of Parliament decided Afghanistan could take a back seat to hockey.

All three opposition parties questioned whether Doan was an appropriate choice to represent the team, given the allegations, and opposition leaders were also irked by the government's unwillinghess to deal with the issue.

"It's not a government decision," said Secretary of State for Sport Helena Guergis to repeated questions in the House of Commons.

But Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe rejected those claims.

"I cannot understand why the government wouldn't put out a single comment to say that this is disrespectful to French Canadians," Duceppe said.

The NDP's Jack Layton suggested that Doan's captaincy will "cast a shadow on (Canada's) participation on the international stage."

For his part, Liberal Leader Stephane Dion admitted that the government shouldn't interfere with Hockey Canada decisions, but called the Tories' silence on the issue "shocking."

Doan was not punished by the NHL after a league investigation into the incident, though the Alberta-born athlete was given a misconduct for verbal abuse of officials during the game.

While politicians back home looked for headlines, Shane Doan sought to clear his name Tuesday.

"I'd rather you call me the worst hockey player in the world and say that I don't deserve to be on the team," the beleaguered Canadian captain said after practice at the IIHF World Hockey Championship. "Anything like that, that's fine. You can say whatever you want.

"But don't question my character. Don't question the basis of what I am."

Doan's answer to the first question about the political barbs back home lasted more than five minutes. While clearly hurt by the politicians' comments, he spoke clearly and calmly about things like character, honour and pride and even apologized afterwards for taking so long to answer.

"I don't understand how people can attack somebody when I was cleared by the NHL," said Doan. "Anybody that does any type of investigation into it would realize I never said it.

"And yet, they can just throw it out in the House of Commons? Those are our leaders. Those are the people that we're supposed to look to."

The allegations stem from a game in December 2005 between Doan's Phoenix Coyotes and the Montreal Canadiens. Linesman Michel Cormier says he heard Doan utter a slur against Francophones while skating by him.

Doan says he was trying to calm down goalie Curtis Joseph during a skirmish and wasn't even talking to any of the officials.

"I stand on my word," said Doan. "I did not say a single thing. I didn't say anything even remotely close to what is being said that I said.

"I guess that's probably the most frustrating thing is that you can talk to my teammates, you can talk to anybody that knows me. I wouldn't have said that. Some of my best friends are French-Canadians."

Doan, 30, says he's always been conscious of how he's carried himself during 11 years in the NHL.

"I play hockey and everything, but the person that I am is way more important," said Doan. "I take incredible pride in being a role model . . .

"I can't believe that anybody would make allegations or say something about me that has never, ever met me or talked to me."

Doan grew up on a ranch in Halkirk, Alta., where his parents ran a Christian camp for kids. The importance of respect and treating others well were repeatedly taught during his childhood.

He has spent a lifetime trying to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and has left a mark on many of the people who have met him.

"There's not a nicer guy in the world than Shane Doan," Coyotes CEO Jeff Shumway said from Phoenix. "I wasn't around when whatever happened, happened, but I have never heard Shane say a bad word about anybody. It would certainly surprise me if he ever said anything like that."

Doan is a devout Christian who is often teased by teammates for his unwillingness to swear. Fudge is the word he's most likely to use while upset.

Mike Cammalleri has felt Doan's influence and is reluctant to say a bad word in front of him. He can't imagine his captain ever offending anyone.

"Anybody that knows Shane will tell you that it's a very hard thing for any of us to believe that he said something like that," said Cammalleri. "He's pretty much the perfect leader when you think of a guy you want for Team Canada.

"I'm astonished. It just seems like the shoe doesn't fit."

Doan won gold medals at the world championship in 2003 and 2004 and was named captain before the start of this year's tournament.

Coach Andy Murray strongly defended the player he chose to lead his team.

"Shane Doan has answered the call whenever Canada's asked," said Murray. "He's leaving four kids to come over here. He's done enough that he probably had the right to maybe say no and he never has said no to Canada.

"That's all I'll say about it ? it's just the fact that I think he's a real Canadian."

Perhaps somewhere down the line the players might be thanking the politicians.

The controversy could provide a rallying point for the 2-0 Canadians heading into Wednesday's game against Slovakia (TSN, 12:15 p.m. ET) ? the first real test they'll face in the tournament.


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"At issue is an alleged derogatory remark made by Doan toward a French-Canadian referee during a game in 2005."

They are whining about something that happened 2 years ago?

Slow day in the House today?

What a pathetic waste of taxpayers money!!

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Heh, the last time the House got involved in hockey was when some NDP backbencher tried to block Gretzky from being traded to LA.

How sad is it that the next time hockey came up in the House was because of Doan? :no:


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Heh, the last time the House got involved in hockey was when some NDP backbencher tried to block Gretzky from being traded to LA.

How sad is it that the next time hockey came up in the House was because of Doan? :no:


Well, Shane Doan is the captain of the team that Gretzky coaches.

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sounds 100% daft to me that polititions would care so much but then I suppose hockey is your nations most popular sport, still one thing to mention it and a completely different thing to get involved in a bit who-ha over it.

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Cherry weighs in

Don Cherry blasted Canadian politicians who have revived a controversy involving comments made by Phoenix Coyotes forward Shane Doan in 2005.

"Is this the most ridiculous thing you?ve ever heard?" Cherry said Wednesday on CBC?s Coach's Corner segment. "All the things going on in the world, and we have a debate in the House of Parliament ... because somebody said something? "It's absolutely ridiculous."

Cherry aimed his vitriol at politicians who want to question hockey officials about Shane Doan being selected as captain of Team Canada in spite of a two-year-old controversy involving a French-Canadian referee. Cherry defended Doan, saying he believes the veteran forward didn't use a slu"There was a game in Montreal, and they had four French officials," said Cherry. "He says to (Coyotes netminder Curtis Joseph), 'Four French referees in Montreal, what do you expect?' And that?s all he said.d. "He didn't say they were bad guys, he didn't say this, he didn't say that. That's what he said."

Cherry is no stranger to controversy, particularly involving French-Canadians. The opinionated ex-coach faced plenty of backlash back in 2004 when he suggested players who wear visors were wimps and mostly "French guys" or Europeans.

"It's unbelievable that something like (this) is going on," said Cherry. "These great guys we've got coming up, and what are they worried about? The French language (law)?

"I know all about the French language law, I'm not getting into that."


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The PQ is trying to start up up a controversy because they are very low in the polls (historic lows). If they make a big deal of this they can justify their existence and make language an issue once again. It's pathetic and ridiculous. The MPs should be ashamed of this. The host of CBC's The Hour said it well when he said something along the lines of, "I guess that environment thing and that middle east stuff are all fixed now."

The separatists re-write history to suit their needs. They take a problem that existed 50 years ago, which has been largely corrected, and continue to say it exists. But that's the problem with single issue parties. After a while they become institutions which means jobs and careers are at stake if they ever solve the problem they fight against. I think the last thing separatist politicians really want is to separate. They need problems with the rest of Canada to justify existing, and that brings me back to Shane Doan.

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I say we make it a matter of course to criticize Team Canada players...

Shane Doan's hat trick hems in politicians


From Saturday's Globe and Mail

May 5, 2007 at 12:18 AM EDT

Shane Doan made quite the transition Friday. In the seven minutes it took him to score three goals for Team Canada, the hockey player from rural Alberta put an exclamation mark on a week that saw him travel from pariah to political hero.

It wasn't only friends and family members who cheered Mr. Doan's three-goal performance in a 6-3 win over Belarus at the world hockey championship in Moscow. Politicians, many of whom had questioned the Canadian team captain's character, were suddenly tripping over themselves to applaud the 30-year-old forward.

Several of these politicians were the same ones who had asked Hockey Canada to appear before the official languages committee two days ago to explain why Mr. Doan had been named captain after allegedly uttering a slur against a French-Canadian referee during a National Hockey League game in 2005.

?Congratulations,? said Quebec Liberal MP Raymonde Folco, reacting to the news that Mr. Doan had led the Canadian team to victory. ?Shane has done a wonderful job as captain and as a hockey player and I'm very pleased for him.?

The chair of the official languages committee, Conservative MP Guy Lauzon, also praised Mr. Doan, saying, ?There was no question that he was chosen for all the right reasons.?

The flood of support also included a phone call to Mr. Doan via a Hockey Canada official from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who had said little on the matter but wished Team Canada good luck for the remainder of the world championship.

In Moscow, asked whether scoring three goals was a symbolic way of silencing his accusers, Mr. Doan replied: ?You definitely want to prove that you deserve to be here and that you want to be here and that you're capable of doing a good job. It was a key game,? he continued. ?We knew we needed a point to get into the quarter-finals. That was the goal.?

Friday, the goal among politicians was to retreat from the poking and prodding they gave him in the House of Commons, where NDP Leader Jack Layton went so far as to say Mr. Doan's captaincy ?cast a shadow? on the Canadian team.

Mr. Doan was so concerned by such rhetoric he called his mother, Bernice, and asked, ?Is this how I'm going to be remembered ? as a racist??

?I've probably been guilty in the past of reading something or hearing something [about an alleged incident] and then you assume that's the way it is,? Mr. Doan said Friday from the Canadian team's hotel in Russia. ?That bothers me because I'm so much more than a hockey player. I want to be known as a person you're glad to know and call a friend; a truthful person. To be remembered any other way ...I hope that's not what I'm remembered for.

?I hope people can remember this wasn't true.?

The support he has received since arriving in Moscow has been continuous and sizable. Denis Gauthier and Daniel Bri?re, two former NHL teammates and good friends, have kept him informed of what's been happening on the home front. Former NHL and Olympic team head coach Pat Quinn called to offer encouragement.

Mr. Doan has even gone online to read comments posted on globeandmail.com and had a chuckle over savedoan.ca, a website asking Canadians to sign a petition expressing their disgust over the government's waste of time and money in l'affaire Doan.

?I'm incredibly proud to be a Canadian. That's what's come out of this for me,? Mr. Doan said. ?The people of Canada have been absolutely, overwhelmingly amazing. People have defended me when they didn't have to. It makes you proud to be a Canadian.?

Mr. Doan has always had a fondness for wearing the Maple Leaf. His first hockey jersey as a child growing up in Halkirk, Alta., was a Team Canada sweater, and the two pictures on his bedroom wall captured two special moments: Canada's first gold-medal win at the 1920 Winter Olympics; and Paul Henderson's winning goal in the 1972 Summit Series.

That Hockey Canada had to address a parliamentary committee challenging his integrity wasn't something Mr. Doan wanted.

Yesterday, he insisted again that what he said to Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Curtis (Cujo) Joseph (?Four French referees in Montreal, Cuje, figure it out?) was not what he was accused of saying (?****ing French. Did a great job.?).

?Obviously, the way it turned into everything I was very shocked that it would become as big as it has,? Mr. Doan said. ?The thing that surprised me was there was nothing to it. I never said anything remotely close to that, but it keeps getting a life of its own.?

Hockey Canada told the official languages committee that someone did say the offending words but that it wasn't a Canadian player. Coyotes forward Ladislav Nagy did make anti-French remarks, according to a report filed by linesman Michel Cormier, and Mr. Nagy was warned by the referees.

Montreal's CKAC all-sports radio station has spent two days debating the 17-month-old remarks with many listeners calling in to say Mr. Doan shouldn't even be on Team Canada, much less its captain.

?Most people are insulted. It's as if Shane Doan said, ?You f?ing French' to them. They take it personally,? co-host Chris Gauthier said. ?For French-speaking Quebeckers, the view is that there's always been racism among hockey players, and enough is enough.?

There may be racism among hockey players but an NHL investigation cleared Mr. Doan of any wrongdoing.

Friday, politicians scrambled to compliment him for his fine efforts in Moscow. Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon congratulated Mr. Doan and added that ?hopefully Team Canada will go on to win the gold medal.?

NDP MP Peter Stoffer went one step further. Mr. Stoffer does not sit on the official languages committee but acknowledged he was embarrassed by its proceedings. ?It's really none of Parliament's business,? Mr. Stoffer said. ?I have no problem apologizing myself to my constituents for what has transpired here.?

Canada's next game is Friday against the Czech Republic.


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this is riduculous. Afghanistan, raising gas prices, poverty, hospital waits etc etc and they are talking about this?

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