Bloc Québécois raise concern over remark made by hockey player

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Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Team Canada and Phoenix Coyotes hockey captain Shane Doan says he'll quit his position after the Bloc Québécois political party raised some concern over an "ethnic remark" he made two years ago.

A motion demanding officials from Hockey Canada and Sport Canada to appear before a House of Commons Committee on Thursday, was supported by the Conservatives, the Liberals, the NDP, and the Bloc Québécois.

"Sports Canada has certain objectives, and that includes reflecting what they call the Canadian reality," said Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe. "The government has just cut lots of money from community groups under the pretext that they didn't share the government's priorities. "Hockey Canada receives (public) money, right? We have a right to ask questions."

The National Hockey League (NHL) defends his remark made in 2005 against French-Canadian Hockey referee Stephane Auger.

According to a statement by NHL Linesman Michel Cormier, the game was a December 15, 2005 game which had the Phoenix Coyotes vs. Montreal Canadiens, it had four French-Canadian referees. He recalls himself, after the second period, skating to the Coyotes bench.

"While skating alongside me while I was headed toward my room, that's when [Doan] said the words, 'Fucking Frenchman, did a good job,' and he skated away," said Cormier recalling the event. "We were side by side."

Doan, who has "strong Christian values", says he did, indeed, make a remark about the four referees but denies any bad language.

Doan, who agreed to a $22.75-million five year contract with the Coyotes, says he was trying to calm down goaltender Curtis Joseph, who was angered that the Montreal Canadiens did not get a penalty. Doan says his real comment was: "Four French referees in Montreal, Cuje, figure it out."

In January 2006, he launched a $250,000 lawsuit against former Minister of Sport and Liberal MP Denis Coderre for "falsely" accusing him of making the remark. Coderre, last year, demanded Doan be asked to not join Team Canada in the 2006 Turin Olympics. On April 2, 2007, Coderre filed a defamation lawsuit against Doan seeking $45,000 in damages.

"I take huge pride in playing for my country, I take huge pride in representing everybody," Doan said. "For them to question me, being the captain, is incredibly disappointing. For someone to...say that I'm a bad role model, I'd rather have you call me the worst hockey player in the world and I don't deserve to be on the team, anything like that, but don't question my character," he said. "I don't understand how someone can attack when I've been cleared by the NHL, I never said it, yet they can just throw it out in the House of Commons."

Just today, Doan scored the game-winning goal in a 4-2 preliminary round victory over Norway at the Men's World Hockey Championship in Moscow, Russia.

Sources

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