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Canadiens attempt to aid better player-name pronunciation

The NHL's definitely a linguistically diverse league, and IIHF.com's Szymon Szemberg noted that the New York Times' Jeff Z. Klein penned an article about the Montreal Canadiens' attempts to properly spell their players' names on the backs of their jerseys, diacritical marks included:

The Montreal Canadiens’ decision this season to include the accents in players’ names on their uniforms was not born of cultural politics. It arose simply out of one man’s desire to be accurate.

“I like to write things the right way,” said Pierre Gervais, the longtime equipment manager in charge of putting name bars on the Canadiens’ uniforms.

General Manager Marc Bergevin signed off on the idea, and voilà, linguistic sports history was made. Montreal is the first N.H.L. club to have a policy of rendering players’ names accurately on their uniforms.

The grave accent in Daniel Brière’s surname is still the only diacritical mark on a Canadiens name bar, and he is out with a concussion sustained Oct. 19. Another player whose name includes a diacritical mark is Joonas Nättinen of the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Canadiens’ affiliate in the American Hockey League. (Jérémy Grégoire, who is in a junior league, was with the Canadiens in the preseason.)

“If Nättinen gets called up, I’ll put the double-dot over the A,” Gervais said. “I’ll try to do the right spelling, which should be done.”

Continued, and as a Wings fan who tried to explain why Dominik Hasek's name was pronounced with a "sh" because there's a "hacek" over the s, I think this is a great idea.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: daniel+briere, montreal+canadiens


TreKronor's avatar

I like it, and I’d imagine it could help visiting announcers as well. 

Theoretically, with German names for instance, if they haven’t been using umlauts this whole time, they should have been using “e” after the appropriate vowel’s, such as in the case of Joonas N├Ąttinen to correctly give it the “Naettinen” sound.  So, the equipment manager kills two birds as they spell it “more correctly” and are able to lose a character.

Posted by TreKronor on 10/28/13 at 08:22 AM ET


What a radical idea, the uniforms should spell the names correctly.

Posted by Puckbubba on 10/28/13 at 08:47 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

Interesting.  As a bit of a language junkie I appreciate this.  Anglicizing Eastern European names out of cyrillic into the latin alphabet can be a challenge.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 10/28/13 at 10:46 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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