Using a variety of statistics he showed that this discrimination works against Francophones and players from Europe.
That book has now been translated into English under the title Discrimination in the NHL, although I can't imagine who'd read it, certainly not NHLers, who are, to say the least, not particularly scholarly.
Read my post about that book.. NHL Francophone Conspiracy Theory
For regular readers, you'll understand that I don't put much stock in statistics, they can be made to support just about any crackpot theory one can imagine.
I've read blog pieces wherein the author has claimed with statistical certainty that francophones dominate the NHL beyond their demographic numbers and I've even seen lists that include Roberto Luongo designated as a francophone...Argh....
I'm not conceding that francophones are under-represented in the NHL, but even if they were, so what?
The NHL is a business and the players chosen to represent teams are picked not only for their ability to contribute on ice, but also on their attraction to fans and ability to generate fan interest. Let us remember that 29 out of the 30 franchises are in North American English markets and must satisfy that fan base.
Let me ask readers who are hockey fans a legitimate question;
If you were a general manager and had the choice of acquiring Sydney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin, who would you pick?
Forget for a moment that Crosby is having a career year and Ovi an off year, historically both players have been neck and neck.
I'm sure that you, as well as the thirty general managers in the NHL, would all choose Crosby. While the on-ice talent may be similar, Crosby is light years ahead of Ovechkin in marketability and the all-Canadian kid is a natural franchise builder. Not only is Ovechkin slightly challenged in the looks department, his command of English is off-putting and so it's natural that fan interest does not rise to the same level as for Crosby.
I would venture to say that even if this year's numbers were reversed and Ovi was blazing out ahead of Crosby, Sydney would still be a more valuable commodity to any NHL team.
That's just reality.
Before I get into the argument between francophones and anglophones, I'd like to say that this discrimination business just doesn't hold up.
Sports and entertainment are the two fields where talent wins out. When Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier in baseball, it wasn't because of altruism on behalf of the Brooklyn Dodgers owner, Branch Rickey, it was because he believed Robinson could help his team win and it was worth the effort to suffer the consequences of racism.
Today times have certainly evolved, Blacks are over-represented in all the major sports of football, baseball and basketball. Does that mean that Whites are being discriminated against?
Today's NHL has an over representation of francophone goaltenders, likely because Quebec junior hockey is the best breeding grounds for their development in the world. On the other hand the Western Hockey leagues consistently produces the NHL's best defenceman. Why?..... dunno.
Francophones are well represented in the coaching and management ranks of the NHL. If there was discrimination wouldn't it start at the top?
There has been talk that the Quebec junior league, the QMJHL, is just not as good as the two other leagues in Canada, the Western Hockey League and the Ontario Hockey League. This opinion is hotly denied by francophone apologists but consider that in the annual tournament between these three major junior hockey leagues held annually to determine the best junior team in Canada, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has the worst record amongst the three leagues. Ever since the Memorial Cup expanded to four teams, here are the winning number of championships per league.
WHL - 15 Memorial Cup championships
OHL - 9 Memorial Cup championships
QMJHL - 4 Memorial Cup championships
It’s pretty difficult to dispute those numbers, but of course somebody will.
Mr. Sirois predicted that the QMJHL would be humiliated again in the selection of Canada's Junior Team, set to compete against the world starting on Boxing Day. It didn't happen, with four players being selected to the team yesterday, not a shabby outcome.
At any rate, let's get back to the notion of Anglophone teams preferring Anglophones over Francophones or European talent. I've never heard an anglo sportswriter or hockey official enunciate that position, but I have heard francophone sportswriters making the case that the Montreal Canadians should hire more francophone players.
By far the most vociferous proponent of this concept is blowhard sports writer Réjean Tremblay of La Presse, who has been screaming for more francophones on the Canadiens.
"À talent égal, on prend un francophone. Et en corollaire, on s'arrange pour ne pas échapper un seul bon franco au repêchage."Makes sense to me.
(Faced with equal talent, take the francophone. Never let a good francophone draft choice go) LINK
Quebec fans want to see more local talent that they can identify with. It makes for a better fan experience and will help increase fan loyalty.
Why is it okay for the Montreal Canadians to want to hire more francophones as opposed to the Toronto Maple Leafs wanting to hire more anglophones?
I suppose there will be someone in the comments section who will make the argument that it isn't the same thing at all and Quebec is a special case.
Yup, poor Quebec is always a special case.