Canucks and Beyond

Quebec/Canadian Media Always Looking for a Fight

12/15/2008 at 3:25pm EST

This is the sort of thing that’s liable to get one of my favorite coaches in hot water.

“A lot of players are falling on the ice on purpose. That means our team looks more like a soccer team. This style of play is often practised in Quebec, where players fall down easily and good body checks are often penalized.”

Pat Quinn quoted in the National Post and citing Radio-Canada

The National Post story headlines itself with “Quinn offends Quebec by saying its hockey players are divers.” And while we can debate ad nauseum whether the Quebec junior hockey system encourages diving—and frankly, I’m more inclined to run with Quinn’s other cut about soccer—here’s the first thing that should be kept in mind about Quinn’s words: they were stated originally in English, then translated into French, then translated back into English.

That’s a whole lot of mutilation for a quote that I don’t think is all that incendiary to begin with.

Besides, who says “Quebec is offended” but Radio Canada and the National Post?

The only other quote in that piece is that of Michelle Courchesne, the Quebec Minister of Sport, who merely remarks, “I hope Mr. Quinn is not trying to insult Quebec players and teams in particular. That would be unworthy of the coach of the Canadian junior team.”

And she would be right about that. And I’m sure Quinn wasn’t trying to do anything of the sort. Even the Minister went on to add that she expects there will indeed be Quebec players represented on Team Canada, and she didn’t seem to be making a federal case out of Quinn’s comments herself, just responding to the hubbub.

I doubt the entire province of Quebec hockey fans is losing sleep over it any more than Courchesne is, either. But that won’t stop this from being a mini-tempest in a teapot, as media on both ‘sides’ start acting indignant or insulted about Quinn’s remarks.

Alas, the tail starts wagging the dog.

Update—Sorry, I forgot to add this part, where Quinn responds:

“My message was not directed at Quebec players. I was simply saying that hockey has become a game of diving.”

Whatever his original meaning, things sure have a way of being blown out of proportion. And in cases like this, it’s seldom fans—or even players—who were the ones making a stink to begin with.

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