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Hockey bias against Quebec a myth

Ryan Jeffries, Toronto, Ont.

This is in response to the article titled, “Ex-NHLer’s book claims league discriminates against non-Anglo Canadians.”
 
Bob Sirois points to the numbers in support of his position: 400,000 Canadian youth play minor hockey and 465,000 play in the U.S.

First off, the U.S. has a bigger population than Canada does, so it is granted they will have more youth playing hockey. Second, he points out that 400 NHL players are Canadian, while just 189 were American.

Let’s look at other sports and see if we can follow this type of trend. I haven’t looked into the numbers, but I am willing to wager most NBA players are from the States while there is only one big-name Canadian star in Steve Nash. The majority of golfers on the PGA are American, usually with two or three Canadians (Mike Weir and Steven Ames). Every country has a sport they excel in, Canada’s sport happens to be hockey.

Assuming all NHL teams want to win, they will choose their rosters based on the best available players that they feel are the best. They are trying to win a Stanley Cup. This means they are the best hockey team in hockey. You don’t get to the Stanley cup riding “mid-level” talent, although the mid-level talent players do play their role and if they win the Cup they probably played it very well (i.e. Dustin Byfuglien).
 
Sirois goes on to speak about the fact there are only 42 Quebecers playing in the NHL this year. He further states that the mid-level talent in Quebec goes unnoticed as one third of NHL teams don’t scout in Quebec. First, how is that the NHL’s discrimination? Each team will scout where they feel the best talent lies, not the mid-level talent he refers to. He says it’s hard for the players to get noticed in Quebec. But wait, didn’t Crosby play for Rimouski? And isn’t that team in the Quebec League? With the utmost respect to Quebec hockey players, if you want to get noticed, light it up, be the best and prove that you belong playing with the best, not the mid-level talent pool.
 
For Sirois to say that Quebec should enter their own team into the world juniors is preposterous. Just because our PM says you are a nation, doesn’t mean the rest of the world sees it that way.

Each Country is allowed one entry and is just so happens that Quebec is a Province within Canada. So if you want your players to be noticed, again, get them to be the best, not mid-level hockey players.

He says that normally only about two players on Team Canada come from Quebec. Well, there have been years where Manitoba and Saskatchewan haven’t been represented, either. Not because their from Saskatchewan or Manitoba, but because this is the world’s best hockey nation and if you want to represent this country, you better be the best because we all know Canadians do not tolerate losing.
 
As  Sirois says in the closing of this article, “the facts are the facts.” Well, Mr. Sirois, here are the facts.

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