Hockey Canada defends Doan, denies he said slur
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Thursday, May 3, 2007 10:00PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 6:10PM EDT
Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson delivered a passionate defence of Shane Doan on Thursday to a House of Commons committee, describing him as a devout Christian who finds it difficult to even curse.
"You should get to know Shane Doan," said Nicholson.
"You can talk to all of his teammates that have played with him. He says 'fudge' a lot if he gets upset. He's a Christian and a person that I am proud to know."
Nicholson and other Hockey Canada officials met with the House of Commons' Official Languages Committee to defend their decision to appoint Doan as captain of the Canadian world championship team.
Doan, a right-winger for the Phoenix Coyotes who allegedly made derogatory remarks toward a French-Canadian NHL linesman, volunteered to step down on Wednesday as team captain over the controversy.
"Shane Doan is a person who has represented our country eight times," Nicholson said.
"We are 100 per cent behind Shane Doan."
The National Hockey League has cleared Doan of any "wrongdoing" in the matter and Nicholson said he should be free to represent Canada on the national team.
"There is no question those words were said on the ice," Nicholson told the committee.
"The National Hockey League's investigation clearly shows that that was stated, but it also clearly shows that they felt that it wasn't Shane Doan."
But Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe said even the controversy should still have prevented Doan from being named captain.
"When someone robs a bank he's presumed innocent until proven guilty -- but I don't know many people who'd name them bank manager while the trial's still on," Duceppe said.
"They want to name him captain even before the verdict comes in. It makes no sense. It's an insult to Quebecers."
That sentiment was earlier expressed by committee member Luc Malo, another Bloc MP.
"Why don't you follow the logical suggestion of Mr. Doan himself and give the 'C' to someone else?" he asked officials.
Doan has said he was trying to pacify goalie Curtis Joseph after a loss to the Canadiens in 2005 when linesman Michel Cormier thought he heard Doan utter "F---ing French. Did a great job."
However, Doan maintained he said "Four French referees in Montreal, Cuje, figure it out.''
Doan has sued one Liberal parliamentarian for defamation, claiming he has been falsely accused of making anti-French comments.
The case against Denis Coderre is still before the courts, and Coderre has counter-sued.
Last month, linesman Michel Cormier testified in a court that he was skating next to Doan when he heard the slur.
Nicholson said there is no doubt the words were spoken on the ice, but that the NHL investigation "clearly shows that they felt that it wasn't Shane Doan" who made the remark.
The Hockey Canada president said Doan and his family have been very upset by the allegations.
"We're taking Shane Doan, his wife, his mom and dad, his four kids through an allegation that could have been dictated by someone else,'' Nicholson said.
Rene Marcil of Hockey Canada also defended Doan, saying French Canada is well-represented within the organization.
He maintained the controversy surrounding Doan's appointment is an unnecessary distraction to the national hockey team, which is currently competing in Russia.
"I think this should have ended quite some time ago," Marcil said in French.
"This is another event that is upsetting the concentration of our team."
"I don't see, therefore, why we can't work with Shane Doan," Marcil said.
However, the House of Commons committee members said that it is their duty to discuss the allegations for all Canadians.
"The puck is on the ice and now we don't know where to send it. The whole situation has lead to uncertainty and now we are trying to figure out how to solve it," said a representative.
"There are taxpayers who want to be able to identify with Team Canada," said another representative from the committee.
With files from the Canadian Press