Thursday, December 16, 2010

More Cries of Francophone Discrimination In The NHL

Last year Bob Sirois, an ex-NHLer wrote a book entitled Le Québec mis en échec (Quebec Body-checked) that put forward the theory that Francophone Quebeckers are systematically discriminated against by NHL teams that prefer Anglophone Canadians over all others.
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." 
 (Faced with equal talent, take the francophone. Never let a good francophone draft choice go) LINK 
Makes sense to me.
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.


  1. Mississauga Guy said...

    Oh, no! Not this stupid topic again! Hasn't it been beaten to death yet? We had the Richard Riot in 1955, and the beat goes on...and on...and on...

    Réjean Tremblay is a bigot...NEXT! SUIVANTE!

    Why do you think there is a movement in Quebec to bring back the Nordiques? In lieu of Don Cherry in the first intermission, Hockey Night in Canada televised a rare Friday night game last week between the Montreal Americans...I mean...Euros...I mean...ohhh...Habs and the Detroit Red Wings. The Nordiques proposal was a topic of discussion and a clip was featured with none other than Marcel Aubut, the owner of the first Nordiques team.

    Would I like to see the return of the Nords? Sure. I'm a Habs fan (still), and the passion of the rivalry between the Habs and Nords was something to experience. My interest in hockey came after the "Original Six" when the Habs and Leafs met 14 times a year. The rivalry was all season long and continuous back then. When the League doubled to 12 teams, the number of meetings was cut to 8 times a year and now 6. When the two teams were in opposing conferences, it was just twice. Since post-1967 expansion, the Habs and Leafs have met in the playoffs only twice--in the semi-finals in 1978 and the quarter-finals in 1979. Habs won both series in four straight when they were the class of the League. The Leafs were within a hair of winning the Western Conference Finals in 1993. Had they won, they would have played the Habs for the Cup. What a series THAT would have been, to be sure!

    Despite the almost century-long rivalry between the Leafs and Habs, I always felt the one with the Habs and Nords was more intense and that is of course because I was a fan when that rivalry reached a feverish peak. Maybe an intra provincial rivalry make for better drama than an inter provincial, French vs English, Catholic vs Protestant rivalry. Then again, I attended a soccer match in Glasgow, Scotland between the two Glaswegian clubs, the "Protestant" Rangers and the "Catholic" Celtic in 1988. Compared to ANY NHL rivalry, this was SERIOUS stuff. The fellow who took me to the match made sure we left the stadium IMMEDIATELY after the match in fear of the "other side" coming over looking for fights! Compare this to my only time attending a Leafs-Habs game at the ACC. I wore my Habs jersey as did my buddy and a host of others, right in "enemy" territory. Fans cheered for their respective faves, and pretty much ignored the opposing fans. The soccer fans went way over the top! I couldn't help but feel it was insanity at its worst!

    When it's all said and done, maybe the media is the best place to air the dirty laundry. I'd hate for OUR game to lower itself to what I experienced that one afternoon in the Scottish Football League. Editor, Bob and Réjean, RAVE ON! Better there is insanity in the media than in the stadium! It's safer, too.

  2. The riot in 55 was not stupid. The English people were protesting, firing, and treating the French like if they were pigs in Montreal. My grand parents and all there neighbours and that generation passed this information. You cannot kill it ! This is the era which you denying and was so tough for all of us in Montreal: the after-war. It was a time where we had to grow up as children in between conflicts every minute of our lives in Montreal because of the English population who was in CHARGE AT THE TIME. If yo doub it there is something missing in your pinhole head succer Mississauga.

    This riot was about our favorite hockey player who was beaten up unfairly with the help of the f.. English referee. It was against and purely against the French, it makes a topic against the English in a lot of books, under La Grande Noirceur, you can see it in films etc... it is a subject we teach in all French schools and Universities, if you take literature.

    Anyway, turn your TV channel elsewhere if you can't see well and your bastards ears are too English, (like you say so well on this site), if you don't want to hear French. TIT FOR TAT.

    Le sport du hockey appartient aussi aux Québécois ! Pay for your translators idiots, or disconnet, go home to F.. ONTARIO MISSISSAUGA boy!

  3. Mississauga guy: you are an awful scrapper ! Stay in ON-ta-RIO when you go to a restaurant:
    1. put a puck between your front teeth;

    2. a piece of chickent between your legs;

    3. hold it tight, and then order a sandwich."

    4. try to score! ha! ha! ha !

    Jack Nicholson version, re-adapted for an Ontario twit !)

  4. Editor,

    Really nice timing to post this piece.

    2 - 4 L at Detroit
    1 - 3 L at Toronto
    3 - 5 L vs Philadelphia

  5. Ça sent le redneck ici !!! Vive la différence et vive le Québec français ! Good old times are finish sorry for you ! Il n'y a eu qu'un seul Maurice Richard et il est québécois et francophone en plus, dans votre pipe !

  6. "Le sport du hockey appartient aussi aux Québécois"

    Hockey: invented by Cpt. Hockey in Nova Scotia as a means to keep British soldiers in shape.


    "Il n'y a eu qu'un seul Maurice Richard et il est québécois et francophone en plus, dans votre pipe!"

    There was only one great one.


  7. "This is the era which you denying and was so tough for all of us in Montreal: the after-war."

    "...the English population who was in CHARGE AT THE TIME."

    Quebec Francophones may have faced some difficulties 50 or 60 years ago, but there was never any official, state sanctioned discrimination. However, they are not showing much maturity today by supporting intolerant, vengeful language laws that treat others worse than they were treated themselves.

  8. It's only discrimination if it's happening outside of Quebec. Once you cross the border ( and you will know you've entered Quebec from the weaving you will do to avoid the craters on our roads), discrimination and racism become benign forms of protectionism. Unless you belong to a minority in which case, you don't matter at all and nothing is benign. The ROC won't care if you're being discriminated against, if your rights are withheld, and neither will the locals who wish you had never been born in this province, no matter how long ago your family migrated to Quebec.

    The hypocrisy from both sides of the spectrum is getting to be rather disgusting. Don't expect much out of Quebecers. Decades of intense propaganda is not condusive to producing thinking, educated adults. On the other hand, the ROC was up in arms about Afghani women not being able to go to school half way around the world, but see no fault with a diaspora of over a million native Quebecers feeling threatened enough to leave their homes, and the rest of these minorities existing as second class citizens in their own country.

  9. Indeed. Ca sent le redneck francophone, c'est à dire : toi!

    "Ça sent le redneck ici !!!"

  10. Mississauga Guy here...

    To Anon @ 6:56 AM: Oh, cry me the Saguenay River with the trials and tribulations your poor grampies and their neighbours endured. My grandparents came to Canada (well...Quebec) with little more than the clothes on their backs. Rent yourself the movie Fiddler on the Roof and see what MY grandparents endured.

    Your people were led astry by your own despots, namely Maurice Duplessis and the Roman Catholic Church. The Church advocated that it was OK to have a zillion children and be the "small bread" of society while trying to feed so many hungry mouths on a modest wage.

    God didn't provide, did he? Duplessis didn't provide, did he? Ridiculous doctrines that you were led astray for over 200 years, and you have to blame others for this? YOU ARE A BIGOT...A BLATANT, SMALL-MINDED BIGOT! TU EST UN GRAND FOU AUSSI! UN BUFFOON!

    My maternal grandfather came to Sherbrooke before moving elsewhere in the Townships to establish himself. He died at a young age during the Great Depression when my 22-year-old uncle took over his businesses with all the assets pledged to the hilt.

    He turned the enterprise around DURING the depression and afterward. He supported his mother and FIVE younger siblings! HE HIRED FRANCOPHONES TO work in his business when 25% of the population couldn't BUY jobs! He worked so doggedly for the sake of his family that he dropped dead at the age of 52 from all the stress he endured for the better part of 30 years!

    And your poor, poor families suffered. WRONG! They didn't believe in hard work and taking risks, and YOU ARE SICK WITH JEALOUSY OVER THE FACT your ascendants and probably YOU are all layabouts who sit smoking multiple packs of cigarettes all the live long day, drinking beer at night and all weekend, getting fat as those beer swilling pigs you describe while waiting for your next entitlement cheque from one government or another.

    What percentage of the Quebec population depends on welfare cheques? 20%? 30%? 40%?

    Get the hell of this blog, get the hell off your ass, put out your smoke, stop sucking back one Laurentide after another and get to work! Lève-TOI, PARESSEUX!

  11. Mississauga Guy to Anon @ 7:28 AM...

    What I wrote to Anon @ 6:56 AM, goes for YOU as well. At least I HAVE teeth to hold a puck, not the dentures you put in a glass by your bed every night and brush with Polident in the morning. My dentist had all the latest equipment to care for my teeth and my othodontist that my mother worked so hard to pay for to make them straight.

    What did YOUR dentist have, a chair and a pair of pliers? I guess nobody taught you to brush your teeth after all that sugary Pepsi, May Wests and maple syrup. Open wide! OUCH!

  12. Mississauga Guy continues...

    Yes, Rocket was indeed a superstar, but he was far surpassed by Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull and even his father, Bobby Hull. You also had Mario Lemieux who quit for four years crying like a baby about getting hit a lot. Guy Lafleur had five great years then became a has-been by 1980 from the two packs of smokes he went through per day. Almost got his head knocked off smashing into a pole driving drunk. His career was on Sunset Boulevard when he came to the Nordiques.

    Being a Habs fan, I was very fond of all the players, French and English. They did their talking on the ice. In all fairness, the best part of Rocket's career was heard over the radio as opposed to watched on TV. This left far more to the imagination than TV took away. Rocket earned all his accolades, yessiree, but if his best play was seen on TV, I can only wonder if he would have been as large as the imagination of radio could muster.

    I imagine Jean Béliveau will be the last sports figure to have a state funeral (not too soon, I hope) in Quebec. He was and still is a class act, so the rest is up to the people of Quebec and whether the family will tolerate this sort of thing.

  13. Your a great bunch of kids, yes kids. If you were taking my courses, I would fail you all with joy, JOY ! PROUD I AM NOT LIVING NEAR A BUNCH LIKE YOU!

  14. Your teeth were biting in something to eat. The movie called Mon Oncle Antoine, will give you an idea of the life of our people at the time, when working for ASBESTOS MINES.

    a FILM directed BY Claude Jutra (1930–86) was already a well-known filmmaker in Quebec. The son of a renowned Montreal radiologist, Jutra was a gifted student who had completed medical school by the tender age of twenty-one.

    "Mon oncle Antoine" perfectly reproduces the French Canadian culture of the Grande noirceur, a time when francophone Quebeckers, treated by their own government as second-class citizens, could only occupy menial jobs in the factories, mines, and logging camps owned by the English-speaking ruling class. The character of Jos Poulin (Lionel Villeneuve), who quits his job at the asbestos mine to go to the logging camp, only to leave that job, too, shortly after, incarnates the typical French Canadian of the Grande noirceur, who feels an uncontrollable urge to rebel against an oppressive system but lacks the means to act productively.

    Of course when I read such nonsense as:

    ..."It's only discrimination if it's happening outside of Quebec. ...discrimination and racism become beign forms of protectionism."


  15. "Your a great bunch of kids, yes kids. If you were taking my courses, I would fail you all with joy, JOY ! PROUD I AM NOT LIVING NEAR A BUNCH LIKE YOU!"

    If I was taking your course I would hope my teacher knew how to spell 'you're' and knew that 'PROUD I AM NOT LIVING' is a grammatical nightmare.

  16. Off topic but apparently Celine Dion has named one of her twins "Nelson" - an English name. I wonder when the shit will hit the fan in Quebec about that?

    It was thoughtful of her to name her son after that great English admiral, Lord Nelson, who defeated the French in the Battle of Trafalgar, LOL!


    This 'protection' can be accomplished without stripping away the rights of other people!


    Where are all of these 6,750 other languages doing the same thing?

    French is hardly an endangered language. It is spoken by over a hundred million people in more than 50 other countries around the world. The French language certainly won't disappear if a slang, bastardized version of it fades away from a remote corner of North America.

    P.S. Your use of capital letters is irritating and entirely unnecessary to get your point across.

  18. Si vous n'aimez pas mon anglais, vous m'en voudrez bien désolé. Cependant le vôtre pourrait être bien meilleur. Comment cela fait-il ? C'est le seul que vous écrivez n'est-ce pas ? Oh! J'écris vite, mon ordi est minable, mais avec vous, je m'en fou. A propos, j'adore les majuscules, elles récrient ce que j'ai à vous dire.... Voici mes propos suite à la lecture de vos notes :


    Vos propos mensongers d’une « identité nationale » prétend imposer à toutes et tous, par-dessus les genres, les classes sociales et l’histoire, une nature commune, comme la nature du stalagmite est, goutte après goutte, de s’élever à partir du sol.

    Il existe pourtant, par exemple dans la diversité du Québec francophone des particularités « locales ». L’histoire de la lutte des classes est faite, comme dans chaque partie du monde, de précipités particuliers.

    Lorsque les Anglophones de ce site reprochent ce qu'ils entendent avec d'abord une certaine moquerie qui se prolonge avec une forme de pathos, c'est qu'ils sont à faire leur éducation sociale (et j'en passe!) avec les Francophones de l'Amérique du Nord, même après quatre siècles! Or, nous sommes à concluer qu'ils sont toujours des étrangers et deviennent de par leurs opinions des intrus, car ils ignorent entièrement nos agissements, notre pensée et nos traditions.

    Au Québec la conquête amena une autre culture, une langue étrangère et une religion très différente de la nôtre; un univers qui restera isolé de celui qui nous a toujours intéressé.

    Au Québec, contre l’identité populaire ils (les Anglais) se consolidaient et pour un certain temps leur affranchissement se termimait au début dans des ruisseaux de sang.

    Quatre siècles plus tard, le même tripot avec les étrangers anglophones persiste toujours (Ici, i.e. Mississauga et Basher).

    Il existe plusieurs manières de se rebeller et ses manières peuvent se trouver dans différents campements.

    (a) Par la rupture bien sûr, on est alors un révolutionnaire. Pas de compromis possible, pas de doute, pas d’entre-deux : « Du passé faisons table rase ! »

    (b) Mais il est une autre manière, non moins déstabilisante : la subversion.

    Le travail de sape se fait de l’intérieur, sur des blogs (comme celui-ci), presque l’air de rien. On reprend les codes, les conventions, l’héritage et par des déplacements, au début imperceptibles, on fait jouer les règles contre elles-mêmes (ici le cas de la Grande Noirceur).

    Le résultat est inédit, non conforme mais ne prend sens que par l’écart et donc par la ressemblance avec ce avec quoi il détonne.

    Cependant plusieurs d'entre nous ne nous détournerons pas de ce site, mais nous prenons bonne note du ceinturion* minoritaire anglophone et étranger au Québec.

    *Un centurion est un officier romain qui avait la charge d'environ 100 soldats.(Ce qui est peu pour vous représenter dans vos propos qui n'ont pas de sens !)

  19. "Off topic but apparently Celine Dion has named one of her twins "Nelson" - an English name. I wonder when the shit will hit the fan in Quebec about that?"

    En l'honneur de Nelson Mandela et Eddy pour Eddy Marney :Compositeur Français,un des premiers a avoir contribué au succès de Miss Dion.

  20. "Off topic but apparently Celine Dion has named one of her twins "Nelson" - an English name."

    "En l'honneur de Nelson Mandela"

    I know that. I was speaking 'tongue in cheek.'

  21. All of should read the book. So many stupid comments !

    Bob Sirois


    Oh please, this isn't the Alamo. Stop whining.
    Among the last two be endangered on this planet will probably be the French and the Catholics.

    Your self pity as a means to justify the disgusting treatment of minorities in Quebec is loathsome, and brushes the entire population of Quebec with an equal share of blame. It's difficult to come away with a sense other than disgust when confronted by a society such as this. In this way it is a distinct society, but eons away of ever becoming a cultural one.