Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Blame Canadiens Language Fiasco on Geoff Molson

For those of us Anglos who live in Quebec, even those stridently pro-English, the decision by the Montreal Canadiens to hire a unilingually English coach seems not only ill-conceived, but extraordinary foolhardy.

It's hard to understand the utter disconnection that exists between the management of the team and the political reality of the day.
Let us for the moment put the politics of language aside and consider that the Montreal Canadiens are a business, more importantly an entertainment business.
If I were to run an independent movie theatre in south shore Brossard (a town with many Chinese residents), I'd certainly consider bringing Chinese movies and having a staff (or some significant portion thereof) that could talk to an important part of the client base in their own language.
Same goes for a bookstore in Chicoutimi, where I'd likely concentrate on French books.
It isn't rocket science.

The most basic rules in commerce is recognizing what customers want and successfully delivering it. Companies spend billions on market research trying to figure out exactly what that is and relentlessly pursue this mission as if on a quest for the Holy Grail.
Whether or not it was the right hockey decision, let's be honest, only an idiot would hire an English unilingual head coach in today's Quebec.

Enter Geoff Molson.

When Geoff Molson bought the team and made the decision to dump the eminantly experienced Pierre Boivin as president, he took on the ultimate responsibility of top banana, a job he is clearly not up to.

It doesn't surprise me, children born of the silver spoon seldom achieve much on their own and Quebec's rich kids are no different.
There are notable exceptions, one that comes to mind is Pierre-Karl Péladeau, who after a rocky start at the helm of Quebecor has since found his rhythm and become a force to be reckoned with, a rough sort who actually has blossomed into a bigger and nastier SOB than his father.
Take that last description of PKP as a compliment.
Nobody can deny that his success in turning around the faltering dynasty that his father left him is based largely on the force of his personality, where his willingness to play rough is coupled with a keen single-mindedness and an amazing ability to manipulate.

But make no mistake, PKP is the exception.

Most children of billionaires and hundred-millionaires are not cut from the same cloth.
Most are coupon-clippers, who recognize their limitations and keep out of the public eye, content to occupy themselves with trivial pursuits while leading the life of genteel aristocrats. Most are uncomfortable dealing with the great unwashed and live in constant fear of being outed as unworthy and unsuccessful.

How do I know?
Well for many years I was the president of an important charitable foundation and as such trolled for dollars among the gazillionaire class.
Of course, most of the board of directors of foundations where I solicited donations were stuffed with a lot of these children of the rich and over the years, I grew to actually feel sorry for many of them who were bullied, belittled and marginalized by their parents and as adults grew into badly-adjusted and complexed human beings.

Many of them were in their forties and fifties, never really having done anything worth a lick in their entire lives and who resented their parents and their own wealth, but trapped by their own lack of skills.
I'm not going to mention names of those rich kids who choose wisely not to get involved in public life. They deserve their privacy.
I'm also going on record now as saying, that Geoff Molson was not one that I knew or dealt with, but alas he shows the classic signs of a rich boy underachiever.

From his less than stellar academic record, to a bunch of gimme jobs at Molson, he hasn't exactly set the world afire.
Here he is, looking like a clown, in a really bad television commercial.

This is the owner of the Canadiens?
Here's a video of him sucking up to Michel Arsenault the controversial and sometimes nasty leader of the Quebec Labour Union, the FTQ  Link

Now when underachievers get their hands on the throttle of real power, the results can be disastrous as is underscored by Montreal's Bronfman family.
Like all billionaire dynastic families, succession remains problematic and hotly contested. The reigns of power of the business empire of the late Samuel Bronfman had been successfully transferred to Edgar Bronfman, who in turn, when the time came to retire, made the disastrous decision to hand his son, Edgar Bronfman Jr. the top job.
Suffice to say that the Bronfmans remain a rich family with a small fortune.
Problem is that when Edgar Jr. took over the company, they had a large fortune!

One bad decision after another saw the Bronfman fortune fritter away and today the family fortune is just a pale reminder of what it once was.
Reading the history of the collapse of the family fortune is a sad reminder that a storied family name does not a businessman make.  Read Fortune's Fool

They say that most commercial airline crashes are the result of more than one error, a confluence of unlikely circumstances coupled with poor decisions. In reaction to a deteriorating and unsafe flying situation, a pilot makes a tragic miscalculation that the co-pilot does not pick up on.

It sounds like a good description of what happened to the Canadiens and their decision to hire Randy Cunneyworth.

Bad judgement times two.

Clearly both Geoff and the hapless Pierre Gauthier underestimated the public's reaction to a unilingual coach.
The decision remains stunningly stupid, because you, I and the panhandler on the street could have told them both, that hiring a unilingual Anglo wasn't the brightest idea.

You might ask how a francophone like Gauthier could be so disconnected from reality that he did not see the impending public relations disaster that was to result in his decision to hire Cunneyworth.
But Gauthier is a francophone in name only, his long career in the NHL has always been conducted in English and when he got the job with the Habs, he decided to remain in the USA by setting up his family in Burlington, Vermont, where his kids attend an alternate school. Gauthier and his anglophone family lead an alternate lifestyle and eschew the big city life in Montreal.
Unfortunately his time away and his choice to live in the USA has insulated him from the realities of Quebec, especially the explosive language issue. At any rate, how on Earth as a General Manager can he convince a free agent to move to Montreal, if he himself won't live there?

He is to say the least, the worst fit possible for Molson, who needs a francophone well-rooted in Quebec culture and an ex-member of the hockey world, either as a coach or player.

Molson's biggest failure is his inability to see Gauthier's firing of Jacques Martin for what it is, a panicked decision made in haste without a clear and cogent plan, an attempt to transfer blame for the on-ice fiasco from himself to Martin.

Jacques Martin may not have been the greatest coach, but the Canadiens problems could clearly be laid at the doorstep of Gauthier, who since taking over from Bob Gainey has made one bad personnel decision after another.

But more importantly, the person that Molson replaced, Pierre Boivin, would never have allowed what happened to happen.
Here' what he told a reporter;

"Although he believes that his team is disadvantaged by its desire to hire someone who speaks French to address the fans and media during the regular season, the businessman also believes that the Canadiens have a role to play in this regard and it is his duty to hire a local coach.

"It's almost an obligation that the next coach will be able to speak to supporters and media in their language, but we are but one team among 30 who is concerned with this and it limits us in our selection process, "
"I think our team deserves to finally have a coach of experience, we have to stop looking in junior or the AHL. We'll cross our fingers for there to be some French experience available, "he added.
 And there it is, as honest an assessment as can be made.

Boivin brought the right balance of business and hockey to the job. I've always admired how professional and cool he remained in a very tough job. His personal life, so full of tragedy, perhaps steeled himself from making rash decisions.

For Geoff Molson, his immediate and panicked reaction was to throw Randy Cunneyworth under the bus, promising fans that he'd be gone at the end of the year.
For Cunneyworth, it's an unfair betrayal, the same fate that befell the unfortunate Don Lever last season, sacrificed over language.
A little better planning could have avoided all this.
Canadiens are going nowhere this year and if they had to wait until the off season for a suitable candidate for coach to present itself, then that's what they should have done.

Hockey fans in Quebec are emotional but not stupid. Everybody knows that it was Gauthier that should have been fired before Martin.

Everybody it seems, except Geoff Molson.


  1. Go along to get along, eh.
    Language trumps competence, Cunneyworth should never have gotten the job.
    No way you want your party to look like it's in the pocket of the Jews, give the old heave-ho to Lawrence Bergman.

  2. First of two:

    Here we go again...the language b.s.! If Québécois have to have their precious coach speak their precious language, put a by-law in the corporate charter that the precious population making up the employ of the Club du 'ockey Canadien, MUST speak French, from the ownersship, the executiveship right down to the Zamboni driver and cleaning staff.

    Make sure each and every goddamn player, trainer and provider of the water bottles speaks French and French only.

    Aw, f--kit! Make sure each and every spectator takes a goddamn French profiency exam first (and half the Francophones, to be sure, will fail the goddamn test).

    Lookit, this is professional sports. Can you pronounce pro-FESH-in-al? In the NHL, 29 teams operate 100% in English, and one about 40% in French. In the dressing room: English; on the bench: English; in team meetings: English; dealing with the Office of the Commissioner: English; dealing with the other 29 teams around North America: English.

    All those seppie crybabies, just keep on crying. When you're dealing around North America, speak English. You have NO choice.

    In baseball, teams go absolutely nutso when they try and sign superstar players from Japan--pay TEN OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS just to TALK to the players and their agents, never mind suit up to play one inning. GUESS WHAT? The players don't speak English! Part of their compensation package is free interpreters that the Club must pay for. They are there to play baseball, NOT LEARN ENGLISH!

  3. Second of two:

    Is it PREFERABLE to have French speaking personnel, especially the head coach and general manager? The answer is a no-brainer: YES, OUI, DA, KEN, YAVAL, SI, ZHEE! It's better for public relations and general communication, but what if the best candidate available does NOT speak French?

    Take your pick: What is more important, a Stanley Cup or a TV interview with the Head Coach and GM? Both is ideal, but choose one, or the other.

    As for that crack about free agents, there are MANY Francophones playing outside Quebec: Daniel Brière was prime Grade A player when his contract ran out in Buffalo. The Habs offered him lots 'n' lots 'n' lots 'n' lots 'n' lotsa monnnnnnney! He signed with the Flyers, and I don't think they offered him as much money.

    The answer probably came in 1988. There was a goalie who played 49 games in the NHL named Rick Heinz, no relation to the condiment empire. He authored a book "MANY ARE CALLED . FEW ARE CHOSEN; HARD REALITIES OF PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY" (ISBN: 0969049110 / 0-9690491-1-0)

    It was an excellent book for the time, and the root of the story as told by Mr. Heinz apply to this very day in every professional sport. There was a section of the book I recall where he said there are three hockey markets: Canada, The U.S. and Quebec. He practically labelled Quebec as a separate country for the way they conduct business, never mind just the language, and of course, the prohibitive income taxes.

    When former NHL goalie Dan Bouchard was traded from the Calgary Flames (the lowest taxed province in Canada) to the Quebec Nordiques (the highest), first thing Bouchard did when he received his first paycheque from the Nordiques was bitch loudly about the taxes! Multiple Norris trophy winning defenseman Rod Langway, after about three years in Montreal, wanted out because of the taxes, and this was before he became a Norris trophy winner.

    In the early 2000s when the Habs signed goalie Jeff Hackett to the best contract he ever got in his career, Hackett did not bring his family to Montreal. Probably because of schooling issues for his kids. They remained in London, ON.

    Even Carbo, when he came to the Habs to learn the ropes of the Eastern Conference competition before grabbing the helm of Head Coach the next year, had battles with the Quebec Government about sending his kids to English school...and lost! His kids I believe started school in Dallas hence were not ready for immersion into French schools, just like other poor sucker immigrants who come to Quebec from foreign English speaking lands. Didn't he keep his family in Dallas for quite sometime, I imagine to plan their immersion into private English schools before the new crazy laws were passed a couple of years ago to counteract their being unconstitutional?

    I think what is finally emerging is the end of any hope of the Canadiens having another Stanley Cup, let alone dynasty! Between the language nonsense, the taxes and the vitriolic media, small wonder the likes of Daniel Brière, Claude Giroux, Martin St-Louis and Vincent Lecavalier don't want to play in Montreal. The best they can obtain are hapless saps like David Desharnais, Mathieu Darche and other marginal players whose leading skill is their ability to speak Joual. Even Alex Tanguay didn't work out, and he cost the Habs a first-round draft choice.

    Finally, let's not forget the Eric Lindros fiasco in Quebec City. Just a sample of why the Habs aren't the dynasty of the past. Even Henri Richard had to sign his "C-Letter" (first contract), to quote the Pocket Rocket, "hin Angleesh". G-d bless the man. He was a damn good hockey player!

  4. more non sense from a Loser society.....the team should be moved to southern Ontario...

  5. @Mr.Sauga:

    "Lookit, this is professional sports"

    One thing you seem to forget is that they aren't doing all this for the fun of it. They aren't playing hockey simply because they like it.
    Professional sports is purely entertainment. It's meant to entertain the people who watch. They aren't playing to make PK Subban happy, or for the coach, or so Molson can have a trophy. They are playing to make money. It's a business, like any other, and your customers are the ones keeping you in business.

    You asked what's more important, a Stanley Cup or an interview with the head coach; yes, we all want the cup, but it won't matter much if nobody's watching, or if they have no fans, right?

    In that sense, I think any professional sports team needs to consider it's fans, the people who are putting money in their pockets. In this situation, just like the editor, I think the coach, above everyone else in the organization, needs to be able to communicate with the media (French media in Quebec). The media is, after all, the companies link to their customers.

    They don't need to pick someone based on language; pick him based on his qualifications for the job. Once he's in place, I think he should learn some french, enough to be able to communicate with the media at least.

    "Make sure each and every goddamn player, trainer and provider of the water bottles speaks French and French only."

    Those people don't need to be able to communicate with the media, so who cares?


    "The most basic rules in commerce is recognizing what customers want and successfully delivering it."

    Could you please remind the OQLF and all the language nazis of that fact please?

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  6. Like Obama, Gauthier was a guy put in a horrible situation. Both the US and the Canadiens were suffering from horrible economics (read Gomez, Gionta, Cammalleri.....). Both were suffering theirnown wars. Through poor decision making and bad luck, these "leaders" have performed horribly and are both widely disliked. The only thing Gauthier has on Obama is that he was expected to be bad.

    Not a difficult situation. Fire Gauthier and replace him with someone who has brains and can speak French (McGuire, Bourque....) hire a coach who speaks French also (Roy? It doesn't matter who, they will only be around for a short time because the team will suck for a couple of years, it will take that long for the Gomez and Kaberle contract nonsense to go away).

    As much as I hate to say it, language trumps competence in this messed up province.

  7. Be smart Molson, sell the team and get the hell out of the racist, bigoted province once and for all.

    It’s simple really. This racist province of Kebec has spent the last 5 decades wiping out its real English speaking history with racist, bigoted anti-English language laws a al bills 22, 178, 101…Do what most informed thinking people already do, boycott the province, the team and all companies with head offices in Kebec.

    Until the language Nazis of Kebec repeal the racist bill 101, and give us back our equal rights, which we have since 1763, stay the hell out of kebec period. Keep your money and spend it elsewhere, anywhere but Kebec.

    You like our money but not our language, well screw you then bigots.

  8. To point out the obvious, any group living in North America for centuries and not being able to communicate in English doesn't need a hockey team or a coach, it needs, but doesn't deserve, a preservation society. I guess that explains the OLF and the political system in Quebec - preserving retardation and hillbilly standards for the future.
    Hope the ROC grows a pair and reverts to a single official language, maybe even some armoured vehicles parked in front of the 'national' assembly ha ha

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  9. "The most basic rules in commerce is recognizing what customers want and successfully delivering it."

    Theses customers want a unilingual, racially and linguistically 'appropriate' team where merit is only measured by the language you speak and your cultural background. Maybe the Habs can host readings of 'Mein Kampf' while they're at it followed by an Offenbach tribute band and a few bricks of weed.

  10. I'm amazed that reporters who cover hockey can't speak English. What a bunch of retards! lol

    Hire the best coach. Period. Get the best players. Period. And win the Stanley Cup!

    Go Habs Go!

  11. I have to ask this, are hockey coaches just more stupid than (soccer) coaches? I mean, here in Europe when a foreign coach takes over a team he is (9 times out of 10, only the ignorant English coaches can't seem to pickup foreign languages) speaking the language in a few months. Why can't Cunneyworth learn French? Why can't the people wait for him to learn French?

  12. I also should point out that most players plying their trade in foreign countries learn the language as well.

    I don't expect hockey players to learn French though, given that they are at the bottom of the professional sports intelligence ladder alongside NFLers.

  13. There's a professional sports intelligence ladder? Wow! You learn something new every day. You must be so smart.

  14. To Anonymous on January 4, 2012 11:41 AM

    It would even be wiser AND smarter to separate Montreal, Laval, ils bizard as well as the peninsula, which lies from the western tip of island all the way down to the Ontarian border, from Quebec…and then, either make it be its own province or annex it to the province Ontario. That way, the language zealots would no longer hold any form of control or power, thus withdrawing from the area so they can no longer bring any form of negative impact…we should add fuel to this idea and start promoting it in order to make it very effective.

  15. to Anon on January 4 , 4:37 PM

    BlahBlahBlahBlah....And BlahBlahBlahBlah...ZZZZZZZZZ

  16. "we should add fuel to this idea "

    Good luck! How many of us even showed up to the abolish 101 rally? 15? ha ha ha
    The quebec nazis showed up in full military attire and giant size mag lites attached to themselves. They took close ups and videos of us to scare us and not one media outlet reported it. Even the anglophones of this province have found a niche for themselves and they wont rock the boat. They're comfortable living with the status quo and what's right, as well as your rights, can all go to hell.
    The idea will never get the support it needs because there is no one in this country with the fortitude, influence and cash to make it happen. The best you'll get is this site, and even here the apologist comments seep through like the smell of shit in a third world old folks home.

  17. "Why can't Cunneyworth learn French? Why can't the people wait for him to learn French?"

    Why should he? He's not working in a foreign country. He was born in Ontario and works in Quebec. Both are still Canadian provinces and he speaks one official language and the language of the majority.
    Even if he spoke French, he's still not a Quebekkker and never will be. The answer to your second question is that an overwhelming majority of Quebecers are bigoted, ignorant tools.

  18. ----and he speaks one official language----

    FYI,official language in Quebec is French.

  19. to anon on January 4 6:39

    I know it sounds impossible and highly doubt it is going to happen,at least for now. but I was just trying to point out something that would assuredly solve the problem to the situation in this is sad, but you're maybe right, though!!!but you never I said...

    btw, are those guys that crazy???I want to know!!

  20. "FYI,official language in Quebec is French."

    FYI, I don't give a shit. Quebec is not a sovereign state, it's a Canadian province. I don't recognize Quebec's illegal linguistic legislation so I speak English any time I damn well please - and so should Cunneyworth.

  21. ---so I speak English any time I damn well please - and so should Cunneyworth.----

    So good luck!

  22. What a great guy

  23. ... to Tree Stump from yesterday morning: You stated "One thing you seem to forget is that they aren't doing all this for the fun of it. They aren't playing hockey simply because they like it".

    I dunno, Stump. I've read a lot of books on hockey, including every written word by Dick Irvin. While it's true that professional sports is an industry, players play primarily because they like their sport. They LOVE it! Same reason there are referees, linesmen, umpires and other officals. They join these professions because they like it.

    During the hockey strike that cancelled a whole season 7 years ago, many players who could do so either played in the minors, or went to Europe to play, mostly for much less than their NHL contracts because they love the game.

    In one of Irvin's books, namely the book he wrote on goaltenders, one story that stands out in my mind was the story of a goalie from the 1970s named Gilles Meloche. He played for several bottom-of-the-barrel teams in the NHL and has the distinction for having the most goals against than any other goaltender, at least until press time for the book.

    I wouldn't be surprised if his record still stands, and as Irvin wrote, that's not fair. He was actually a very good goalie who played for seeral very bad teams. He never won a Stanley Cup (though he was within reach when the Minnesota North Stars made the Cup Finals in 1981, only to be clobbered in four games straight by the NY Islanders), never won any individual awards despite the fact he stole victories for crappy teams on occasions and made lousy games look better than they actually were. In spite of having received no prestigious accolades for his galant efforts, he said he was happy. He got to play for about a decade in the NHL. That was an accomplishment in itself!

    Similarly, in my top piece above, I wrote about another goalie named Rick Heinz and a book he wrote. He had a 49-game NHL career that ended abruptly and unhappily, but he still said all the hard work he put in just to be a backup goalie for a few dozen games over a few years was worth it.

    It's tough. It's pressure-packed and there are juniors always snapping at your heels for their jobs, but they love it, so you're wrong!

  24. Um no.

    They went to Europe or joined a minor league team to stay in shape just in case the NHL and NHLPA ironed out an agreement. Do you remember Keith Tkachuk? One of the players that didn't? When the NHL returned the dude was a good 10-15 kilos overweight and as a result was an absolute pitiful player.

    Oh and also; these guys are like investment bankers. Outside their chosen profession, they really have nothing to give. I certainly wouldn't hire Sidney Crosby once his career was over. What could he do? Nothing. He can play hockey and push products.

  25. Editor, a side comment:

    You are very critical of Geoff Molson, and other so-called "coupon clippers". The simple fact of the matter is that 50% of family businesses fail when they pass down one generation, and 90% fail by the 2nd generation. The Pascals and their hardware retail empire were successful when the founder, Jacob Pascal, started the company with one store in 1903, passed it down to four sons who grew it to its former glory (mostly on the backs of two sons, Maxwell and Arthur), and then finally ran it into the ground primarily by another brother's (Cecil) son, Sydney, who ran the hardware segment, with an assist by his cousin Larry, who ran the furniture segment.

    Similarly, the Steinberg grocery empire was founded by Ida Steinberg who had a small grocery store. Her son Sam built it into a multiple supermarket chain and even produced baked goods and other foods,and Miracle Mart department stores until family squabbles killed it after Sam died. Sam even orchestrated a real estate empire, Ivanhoe, and a chain of dépanneurs under the name la Maisonnée. Too, he expanded into Toronto under the name Miracle Food Mart.

    Actually, there are now consultants who work with family businesses to try and keep them alive, mostly be either seeking out a willing heir apparent in the family, or hiring an outside CEO to run the business, or simply cash out to a competitor.

    The most successful multigenerational business I can think of is the Southam family newspaper, magazine and printing chain. They lasted six generations before an heir apparent could no longer be found and they sold to Conrad Black's empire, Hollinger. I don't think Black's children are in line for greatness, at least none of them seem to have manifested.

    Edgar Bronfman Sr. said of his son, EB Jr. that he worked harder than Sr. ever did. Too bad he was like a locomotive on a greasy track--wheels spinning like mad, but going nowhere fast! Anyone who trades in the booze business for ANYTHING else ought to have their head examined! Like diamonds (per the de Beers Family), booze is forever!

  26. BTW, FYI, MQF is planning a demo at the Bell Center this Saturday before the game against Tampa Bay. And I say, yeah right. Do your demo. Do it after a magical night like yesterday when they won 7 - 3 and Eller scored his hat-trick.

    Come to think of it, why did I throw my cap? I liked that cap! I am not sure if Eller ever gets those caps we threw.

  27. @Troy:

    You know what's funny? I'm willing to bet that a large group of these so called "protesters" already have tickets for saturdays game, and they'll be walking into the Bell Center following their little protest to watch the game.

    @Mr.Sauga: Yeah you must be right, you make a good point about them loving what they do. But it's still a business, with big money involved.
    Also your knowledge of hockey seems pretty impressive.

    Anyways, it's depressing to see all the dumb french bashing in these comments.. You anonymous guys are just as bad at the separatists, just FYI, your arguments seem just as intelligent.

    How complicated is it to understand that a business needs to cater to the needs of those who put money in its pockets? In this case, it's the Habs fans, and a majority of them are french.
    Forget language issues, language laws, and whatever else, just look at it from a business point of view.

    Once again, I want to make it clear that I don't think they should consider language when hiring the guy. Once he's in place as head coach though, he should learn some french (in my opinion). It's simply a sound business decision.

    Of course if the fans are willing to put up with not being served properly, that's their damn problem. You can't just bitch and moan and do nothing about it, which Les Québécois are good at. So like I said, I imagine people protesting, and then buying a ticket to watch the game...

  28. "How complicated is it to understand that a business needs to cater to the needs of those who put money in its pockets?"

    The business of the Habs is to play hockey and try to win championships. Language has nothing to do with it. These fools traded away Mike Keene when he was made captain because Quebecers didn't want another English captain. The result, he wins cups with two teams after leaving here. They booed and whined when Koivu was captain for the hundredth anniversary as well. Bowing down to mob politics is not good business. It's letting a belligerent, bigoted segment of the population and a rag like le Journal run your multi million dollar investment into the ground while they try to put a racially and linguistically appropriate team on the ice to represent them as a 'nation'.
    This is the only place in the world that shit like this happens.

    "Anyways, it's depressing to see all the dumb french bashing in these comments.. You anonymous guys are just as bad at the separatists,"

    So when an anglophone decides to resist and point out the glaring bullshit that is Quebec it's French bashing and when they show up to demonstrations in full military gear and threats, it's because they only want to protect their language. Nice! Either way, the whole point is to be as bad as the separatists. If you want your rights as a Canadian citizen to finally gain some ground in this province, you're going to have to fight for them. Bill 101 will not be repealed, our schools will continue to disappear and we will continue to live in ghettoized parts of Montreal until someone lights a fire and burns this fucker legislation to the ground!

  29. Let me play devil's advocate a little bit. Since it is rather difficult to find the equivalent in the 4 major North American leagues, let me use soccer as an example.

    The most successful team in the MLS is the DC United while the most popular one is arguably the LA Galaxy. Suppose that there is a good coach from Eastern Europe or Latin America who does not speak English. Can one imagine that fellow being hired in Washington or Los Angeles? Even if he only speaks Spanish, does one think that Angelenos will accept him? I think not. Not a chance. However, I also do not think that there will be 'California English Movement' protesting at The Home Depot Center either.

    Having said that, I welcome the Impact to the MLS. At last the city will have one other team in a North American major sports league. And oh yeah, I know that our soccer-hating Editor will not care. :-)

  30. "Suppose that there is a good coach from Eastern Europe or Latin America who does not speak English. Can one imagine that fellow being hired in Washington or Los Angeles?"

    Happens in Europe all the time. In most cases, they use English to communicate. Quebecers just didn't get the memo that the French empire and its language status as lingua franca only applies to Morocco and Algeria nowadays.

  31. And Haiti. Don't forget Haiti.

  32. Troy: "Even if he only speaks Spanish, does one think that Angelenos will accept him?"

    When Capello took over England's national team, his English was poor. So was Trappatoni's English when he took over the national team of Ireland (and he didn't speak any Gaelic or Celtic either). Mancini's English was not so good either when he became coach at Man City. Even today, Capello has a translator standing by in case he doesn't understand a question. He answers reporters in English, but it's still a very basic English. Is there an expectation for these coaches to constantly improve their English? Some. Is there an outpouring of emotion over this issue? Not at all.

    The national soccer team of my country (Poland) had a coach from the Netherlands (Leo Beenhakker) from 2006 to 2008. Beenhakker never learned Polish and the Football Association hired a full time interpreter for him. Beenhakker, who speaks Dutch, English, Spanish, and Italian, said that he was too old to learn another language. Nobody made a fuss about it. Besides soccer, many Western European coaches come to coach volleyball and handball in Poland. Hardly any of them learns to speak Polish, and most of them work through interpreters.

    Gus Hiddink (Dutchman) currently works with the national soccer team of Russia. Does he speak any Russian? Last time I checked, he didn't.

    Otto Rehhagel (German) coached the national soccer team of Greece for a long time. Did he learn Greek? Not really. When he was starting in Greece, the following remarks were made: "The only serious candidate was a man from Germany who could only speak Greek like a holidaymaker that had spent two weeks in Crete: Otto Rehhagel." (
    Did the Greeks ever made any fuss about it? Never. In fact, after he won the Euro for them in 2004, they wanted to build a monument for him in Athens (I don't know if it actually happened).

    So Troy, the examples from the soccer world prove Quebec unique, not standard. As do examples from the world of other sports.

  33. Fact is ... there aren't many French-speaking coaches with significant NHL experience.

  34. Tree Stump,

    I think it is the other way around. The ones demonstrating will be them who actually know just a bit about hockey. Think about it. Would real fans be protesting such trivial thing as language? Real fans will demand, I think, that if a unilingual coach be hired, let it be Mike Babcock, Lindy Ruff or John Tortorella.


    You have a valid reason and I agree with you. To continue your story, Guus Hiddink was bestowed a honorary South Korean citizenship and had the stadium named after him after the amazing run at the World Cup 2002. I am sure he did not and does not speak Korean.

    However, I take the MLS as an example as it is in North America. USA and Canada are a bit isolated from the rest of the world. As such, I find it hard for North America (except Quebec) to accept sports personalities who do not speak English.

    Imagine if Pierre Garcon only speaks French or Dirk Nowitzki only speaks German or Hedo Turkoglu only speaks Turkish.


    There are, the Canadiens already burned the bridges with them. The Stanley Cup finalists? Alain Vigneault and Claude Julien.

  35. Tree Stump,

    I forgot to add this to augment my argument that the demonstrators are not the ones deeply involved in hockey fandom.

    MQF also organizes protest against National Bank of Canada. Look here:

    A significant portion of the protesters readily admit that they do not have any business with NBC. For me that begs the question, why? Why do they protest if they are not customers, clients, employees or any other stakeholders of the bank?

  36. Haïti chérie: Comme la base des amateurs du Canadien sont les Québécois à grande majorité francophone, ce n'est que normal que l'entraîneur soit en mesure de communiquer aux médias de sa communauté d'accueil ! Pensons à un entraîneur ne parlant pas anglais pour le Manchester United ou ne parlant pas catalan pour le FC Barcelona ! Inacceptable ! Une autre gifle de plus démontrant le mépris des uns et l'imbécilité des autres !?!

  37. Chénier dit: À January 4, 2012 4:37 PM ''It would even be wiser AND smarter to separate Montreal, Laval, ils bizard as well as the peninsula, which lies from the western tip of island all the way down to the Ontarian border, from Quebec…and then, either make it be its own province or annex it to the province Ontario.'' Qui vous dit que j'ai envie de quitter le Québec ? J'habite Montréal et ne désire pas devenir ontarien.

  38. Le français ce n'est pas plus compliqué pour les autres que l'anglais pour nous, à moins que vous ayez un sérieux problème d'apprentissage... À moins que ce soit de la bigotrie ou un comportement de Zélotes, à vous de choisir ! Sur ce, un nouveau pays pour le monde: Québec !

  39. Quebec to be a new country? Yeah right. Why do you not win one referendum and we can talk.

  40. Don't be afraid, there will have another referendum ! Je vous signale que l'appui à été constant et même plus grand au deuxième ! Ceux qui ne veulent pas se faire emmerder par des idiots comme...vous, ils font quoi ? Ils vont s'installer dans les autres recoins du plussse beau pays du monde ? Ou l'on traite l'autre peuple fondateur comme de la m*rde ? Vos petites leçons de démocratie, vous pouvez les garder. Si vivre au milieu d'une population française vous dérange, je vous suggère Mississauga, beaucoup plus accommodante pour vous...

  41. I would suggest you move to France...

  42. I would suggest you move to France...

    Et vous en Angleterre...

  43. Tree Stump: Thanks for the compliment re my hockey knowledge. Dick Irvin wrote about a half dozen books about his experiences in hockey. I read one of his books, and it was so interesting I ended up buying them deep discount prices.

    Irvin wrote the way he orally told stories, and still does. One privilege he had that nobody today will ever experience is being in the dressing room before, during and after an NHL game and behind the bench with his namesake father, the coach. Like actor-turned-director Ron Howard, his professional experiences began in early childhood, not early adulthood. His first book (that I read third having had to finally get lucky enough to find an out-of-print copy in a second-hand book store) was by interviewing players he met in his youth and grew up watching--live and in person!

    I've read a few other books on the game as well, but Irvin's have been the most inclusive and comprehensive on 20th Century hockey. His books also hone into specialized aspects of the game such as officials, goaltenders, his father's as well as his own experiences with his father, his 26 years of Stanley Cup broadcasting and in his first book, the four decades in which the Habs won 18 Stanley Cups - 1940-1980. Best of all, he's a damn good storyteller. Mr. Marco: You're partially right about players going to Europe to keep in shape. Their skills are their fortune, so it's to their benefit to find opportunities to play. Too bad about Keith Tkachuk. At one point he was the highest paid player in the NHL. Why he didn't protect his interests and stay fit is a surprise considering he earned an eight-figure salary for a number of years.

  44. @ Troy Jan. 5, 2012 11:59 AM

    "Even if he only speaks Spanish, does one think that Angelenos will accept him?"

    Vladimir Guerrero has only spoken Spanish to the media and he didn't have a problem in either the L.A. area, Dallas/Fort Worth, or for that matter Baltimore. Same for Ichiro Suzuki in Seattle who only speaks Japanese.

  45. Of course, Ichiro speaks Japanese to the media---not Spanish.

  46. "Don't be afraid, there will have another referendum"

    Yeah its a generational thing in Quebec. Symptomatic of a group that lacks real cultural identity and seeks affirmation through mythology and cheap propaganda. No matter what Quebec does, it will never have real independence. Separation will only change the relationship from partner to footstool of north America. Hope you're good a spit shining shoes. Chances are, you already have some experience depending on an English company or the federal government to make a pay cheque to feed yourself and spend what's left over at another English or Allophone establishment for entertainment. Dumbass.

  47. @Anonymous 4:52

    "...a group that lacks real cultural identity and seeks affirmation through mythology and cheap propaganda."

    One of the best description of Canada I've read for yeaaars.

  48. ---One of the best description of Canada I've read for yeaaars---

    Good one ,Hahahaha!

  49. Canadians are well respected around the world, but most people elsewhere don't know who the hell the Quebecois are. Here's an excellent video protraying the average Quebecois Joe:

  50. Anonymous said...
    Don't be afraid, there will have another referendum ! Je vous signale que l'appui à été constant et même plus grand au deuxième ! Ceux qui ne veulent pas se faire emmerder par des idiots comme...vous, ils font quoi ? Ils vont s'installer dans les autres recoins du plussse beau pays du monde ? Ou l'on traite l'autre peuple fondateur comme de la m*rde ? Vos petites leçons de démocratie, vous pouvez les garder. Si vivre au milieu d'une population française vous dérange, je vous suggère Mississauga, beaucoup plus accommodante pour vous...

    January 5, 2012 10:38 PM

    May I remind you that you lost the war and were abandoned back in 1763, which means,we are the real majority and thus, should either conform to our rules, or get the hell out of north america if you're not happy being surrounded by a vast sea of english speakers, you separasite...and just for the record, Montreal has never really been a 100% french place since the day it became a real city. so basically you're wrong on that point and really should go get some really good tutorial lesson in order to revise historical facts because you clearly don't know heck what you're talking about, fucking twat.

    on a side note, concerning the fact that there is support for third referendum...right there you're lying because its popularity has been declining considerably and no one cares anmore...

  51. "May I remind you that you lost the war and were abandoned back in 1763"

    FYI,we're in 2012.

  52. @ Anonymous at 8:21 PM,

    Is that you, Press 9? I thought you weren't going to post here anymore in 2012. I knew you wouldn't be able to help yourself. Shucks, you're even trying to hide your identity by posting in English. What a joke!

  53. LOL @ the 3rd referendum. Forget it cher ami, your pathetic sovereignty movement is losing steam. Do you read or watch the news?

  54. The issue of a french speaking head coach has been blow way out of control. Randy Cunnyworth, is the interim head coach. Lets not forget that he has not proven to be a very good coach as of yet.

    The organization should definatly consider the fact that most Fans are French speaking. However the goal should be to win above all else. Every organization needs to have values and missions, in the case of the Canadiens, it needs to be wins above all else. However that does not mean they should not consider other motivating factors.

    Before we get so worked up, lets see what directoin the team takes in the off season.

  55. I think the choice of the unilingual anglophone as coach of the Habs was fantastic。Francophones of Quebec need to be sent the message that their own government hides from them:that we live in a world in which English is the international language of commerce and communication。 What better way to do that than having the coach of the most famous Montreal institution。

  56. @Tony Kondaks

    Tu devrais installer un échangeur d'air dans ton tipi.