Blog Entry

Protest planned against 'Anglicization' of Habs

Posted on: December 22, 2011 2:20 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 3:32 pm

By Brian Stubits

OK, this whole language fiasco is getting out of hand. Who knew the province would be so angry after Jacques Martin was fired as Montreal Canadiens head coach?

A lot of stink has been raised about the fact that interim coach -- as in, not the full-time coach -- Randy Cunneyworth doesn't speak French. Because of that fact and that fact alone, the decision to elevate Cunneyworth to the top spot has drawn a lot of fire.

So much is being made about it that now a protest is being planned by a Quebec sovereignty group to rally against the Canadiens' coaching decision. From the Montreal Gazette:

Mario Beaulieu, president of the French Quebec Movement, and Denis Trudel, of the French Movement Montreal, issued a news release Thursday saying a rally would be held Jan. 7 outside the Bell Centre to protest “the Anglicization of the Montreal hockey club.”

The protest is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. ET, two hours before a game between the Canadiens and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“We will be providing Quebec flags to Canadiens fans who, in waving them during the game, can also express their opinion,” Beaulieu and Trudel said in the news release.

The team's managers don't respect French as the language of Quebec, the release alleges.

The complaints go on to say that they don't play enough French music at games, kvetch about announcements being read in two languages at games (yes, that's really ignoring French) all the way to the fact that there are only a few players on the team who speak French (so I get the sense these Quebecers would rather have a team full of French players who suck than a good team with Anglophones that is good). The final straw to break the camel's back is the coach.

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I understand full well the desire of the people of Monteal (and Quebec) to want a coach that can speak French. To me, it is a very valid request. But what I just don't get is the backlash against this move. People, the coach was fired midseason because your Les Habitants weren't living up to expectations. They didn't have a chance to find the coach they wanted on a full-time basis, so they made an assistant the interim coach. Let it slide.

This does not mean that the Canadiens don't understand what it means to play as Quebec's team. Of course they do, the Canadiens are tied in very tightly with Quebec as a province, as silly as that might sound. The concept of having a Francophone lead their team isn't lost on them. One of the team owners, Geoff Molson, said as much.

Wait until a full-time hire is made before beginning this protesting. If the Habs were then to go out and hire a coach who doesn't speak French, rail away, say the team doesn't respect its French fan base. I'd be fine with that as a reasonable complaint. But it's just not right in this case.

Of course I feel awful for Cunneyworth. This is a guy who is trying to make his way up the NHL coaching ranks and is getting his shot to lead an NHL team. But he is at the center of a firestorm that is really nothing of his own making, unless you feel like faulting Cunneyworth for never learning to speak French. At least the guy should be given a chance to learn French. Instead, from the moment he was "hired" the complaints have been rolling in.

For his part, Cunneyworth says he's not paying attention to the circus environment that it's becoming, telling the Winnipeg Free Press that his focus is only on the team.

"I’m not even concerned with that," said Cunneyworth Thursday at MTS Centre. "Those are stories I haven’t even read or looked at or thought about. I have enough on my plate with the group we have. We’re just trying to win some hockey games."

Asked if the negative publicity undermined his authority with the team, Cunneyworth added:

"I’m not reading those articles or listening to that kind of media. It may be going on, but I only know of it because I get the odd positive comment from a stranger or somebody who is close to me. But I’m not reading those articles, I’m not thinking about those things at this time. I’m really focused on the group we have."

If he is able to drown all this talk out, then maybe he does have what it takes to be an NHL coach. Either that or it's because he doesn't understand the complaints (bazinga!).

Who'd a thunk that being the first Canadiens coach to start 0-3 in his career since the 1920s wouldn't even be his most egregious act as boss of the storied Habs?

Something -- OK, a lot of things -- are being lost in translation here.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey nd @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.


Since: May 4, 2010
Posted on: December 25, 2011 1:11 pm

Protest planned against 'Anglicization' of Habs

Dam right, did the rest of Canada protest when french had to be added to food packages or signs? The official language of Canada is English, get used to it!!

Since: Apr 23, 2010
Posted on: December 25, 2011 11:36 am

Protest planned against 'Anglicization' of Habs

While I don't care about Les Habitants, I understand the scenario. I was outraged when the English FA hired an Italian coach for the national squad, and I was with the hiring of Sven-Goren Eriksson as well. There's plenty of great English managers to choose from, why pick an Italian? 

Let the Quebecois have their outburst, if they start winning again I'm sure they'll shut up.


Since: Feb 12, 2010
Posted on: December 25, 2011 10:14 am

Protest planned against 'Anglicization' of Habs

I hope the canadiens give in and let the french speaking coach have the job. They suck either way. the wuicker that their out of the playoffs the better for all of us who have to listen to their ignorant french. ask anyone from paris if quebecers speak french and they will laugh in your face. I wish they would have sent over the berlin wall and set it up around quebec. We all would have been better off. Quebecers are useless. USELESS! 

Since: Jan 30, 2008
Posted on: December 25, 2011 12:06 am

Protest planned against 'Anglicization' of Habs

I agree 100% with what you say.if it was'nt for the states your canadiens or your forgien players would'nt even have a job,and your french players sure know the dollar signs when they are offered in Montreal fans seem to crip about know the the saying "WHY AND THE HELL SHOULD I PRESS 1 FOR ENGLISH i already speak it,if i was Randy i would say in any langage kiss my ASS.

Since: Sep 30, 2011
Posted on: December 24, 2011 11:56 pm

Protest planned against 'Anglicization' of Habs

Um, this is a story why?  The entire province has an aire of superiority because they speak, I can speak French and I am an American, does that qualify me to coach the Habs?  Maybe the fans should be more concerned with how bad the team is and getting better rather than worry if the coach can speak French.  It appears that most of the players do not speak French; maybe that was the problem with the last coach, he was speaking French and nobody understood him on the bench.

Since: Mar 19, 2009
Posted on: December 24, 2011 11:56 pm

Protest planned against 'Anglicization' of Habs

I am a proud 5th generation Canadian.  As such, I've had to listen to the Quebec Frenchies whine about everything and anything my entire life.  Honestly, I can not remember a time that they weren't complaining about something.  They honestly feel that they are special and more important than the rest of Canada.  They have long since considered themselves to be a "distinct society" and demand to be treated as such.  When they do not get their way, talk of seperation from the rest of Canada always comes up.  The Cunneyworth situation is ridiculous, but not surprising.  Remember, if they aren't whining about something - they aren't real French Canadians. 

Since: Dec 17, 2006
Posted on: December 24, 2011 10:57 pm

Protest planned against 'Anglicization' of Habs

French Rot On Ground Simple

Since: Nov 16, 2007
Posted on: December 24, 2011 10:11 pm

Protest planned against 'Anglicization' of Habs

Listen to all these chumps get riled up for about a dozen demonstrators, you'd think it's the Occupy Washington all over again and the American pigs are gonna beat the hell out of them like they usually do to Democratic protesters. Isn't this a free country anyways?

Now on one side we got ''expert'' azz-hole Ontarians, fans of a team who's last Stanley Cup must be found in the archives on micro-film and black and white crackled photos and relish the fact that les Glorieux are FINALLY playing at their mediocrity level for the first time since being the last Canadian team to win Lord Stanley's Cup. All the while conveniently forgetting that Hogtown's 45 year Cup drought, yeah you heard it right, is the longest in NHL HISTORY, clearly making THEM undoubtedly the perrenial laughing stocks.

On the other side we have uneducated and illiterate American geniuses in their own minds,who still insanely confound France, even to this day with Internet, GPS etc. , a country over 3500miles away across the whole Atlantic Ocean, with the province of Québec. Just happening to be the major borderline north-eastern neighbour, and which just also happens to be the birthplace of modern day North America where we all in fact live! Just goes to prove and explain why the States are always LAST in the World Educational Standards.

So stuck between such insignificancy to the South, and such ineptness to the West, what is a smart Francophone to do but protest?

Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: December 24, 2011 9:05 pm

Protest planned against 'Anglicization' of Habs

I agree with the comments here in support of the interim coach, but I imagine there would be an uproar if an American team hired a coach who doesn't speak English. Let's face it, language is important to a lot of people. 

Since: Jan 17, 2007
Posted on: December 24, 2011 8:48 pm

Protest planned against 'Anglicization' of Habs

Then start your own league up there eh and call it the CHL and you can pay your players whatever, eh and all the American teams will play down here, eh, and we'll be just fine.  Then we won't have to listen to your Di-- fans boo our national anthem while we respect yours.  EH?  Douc-es.

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