Molson moves to clarify coaching move, quell language firestorm


Canadiens boss Geoff Molson this afternoon issued a statement, in both official languages, clarifying his team’s position on Saturday’s hiring of unilingual anglophone coach Randy Cunneyworth.

The text of his statement, in English:


  1. solomio says:

    I hope G Molson is smarter than he looks !!

    “I figure PG has one or 2 moves left to bring the Habs that extra step closer to perhaps being the best in the league.” – Einstein

  2. HankHardball says:

    Like it or not, Cunneyworth is coach at least till the end of the season.
    I hope fans support him and the team, and try not to be too much of a hindrance as the Habs try to make a run for the playoffs.

    I think all this team really needs right now is more intensity and desire to win.
    And I think Cunneyworth can bring that out of them.

  3. matrags says:

    Rc was hired as an interim coach until season end , at which time a permanent coach would be sought to fill the position. I am sure he understood that. I am sure as well that he understood his lack of ability to speak french was a severe impediment to his being selected to fill the position full time . I am sure he will tell you that .He was under no illusion about his long term prospects as coach without learning to converse in both languages. I am not from Quebec , and I am not French Canadien , but I fully understand why it is necessary to have a coach who is proficient in the French Language.The habs are Quebecs team , bound to the history of a people who mmore often than not found in the team a reason to believe in themselves. Surely anyone who walks into the bell center and views the statutues of Lafleur , The Rocket , Morense, and Belliveau , must realize that they are not just hockey heroes , they are heroes to a people , the French Canadien .So they hold on to the memory of their heroes , the teams glory days ,At a time when the team has not iced one legitimate French Canadien Star in a deccade they cling to the the hope that at least it will remember to try and speak to them in the Language of their heroes.

    • Selkie says:

      matrags, you have it right, its nothing to do with the fact that no one really speaks french except for a couple on the team, its about a culture and few who are not frech and or french canadien will understand. i agree just get a coach that will make the team win but its polotics (like it or not it is) but like you said its Quebec as a culture and a independece. and remember HABS fans who watch the game in Montreal Quebec only watch the games in french. to their credit they deserve thier french culture simple as that! as much as hockey in Montreal is in fact a religion and more so until people that are not french or french canadien will not understand especially when you don’t want to or can’t understand. this is not meant to be offencive, just my out look. (and for the record i live in ontairo and always watch in french its c’est tres bien! je n’aime pas reguard le match en anglais, je preferais francais) HABS FAN FOR LIFE! GO HABS GO

  4. RJ says:

    Disastrous response in which molson painted himself into a corner the habs honor and respect tradition but the team is a private business niter prose and not a government institution. Why is a French speaking coach so important when French players are the minority on this team? Are interviews with the PLAYERS in French? Makes no sense why he made this statement. I feel for cunnneyworth who is doomed.

    “My face is my mask,” Gump Worsley

  5. jrshabs1 says:

    … the ugly language b.s. rears it’s head again. Being Anglo and living in the 21st century the whole thing doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I guess the Habs should have hired Jean-Guy Bum to apease the french media regardless of NHL expierence. Sucks to be a Hab fan these days on so many levels, it’ll be even worse when #31 doesn’t resign because of the turmoil that follows this club. The whole country is watching, listening, reading the events unfold….Quebec is it’s own worst enemy.

    Go Habs Go!!

  6. Habtastic says:

    Maybe he’s trying to quell the initial firestorm, but if he had balls, he’d say what a lot of us think (FTR, since I guess it must be stated, I am fluent in French): HIRE THE BEST COACH…period. If you don’t like it, stop supporting the Habs. English+French together is what this team is about, not some radicalization to the total opposite of what this team stood for (respite from the anti-Franco early days of the NHL). I am sure the fanbase will not take a significant hit and TBH if people are just supporting the team to hear the PC in French, they are not hockey fans. The team will always have a French tradition and I embrace it. The coach is NOT important in that respect.

    You’d hope he’d say something inspirational to bring the haters over to the middle so we can all enjoy the Habs together. Are we actually segregated as a fanbase? I’m almost always sitting next to a Francophone when I’m at the BC and I speak in French and they invariably switch to bit of both. We are not this fickle and it’s embarassing.

    The worst is that I don’t like what it says about how we are treating Cunneyworth. I want him to be afforded the best chance possible since I DO think we can be a very good team THIS year.

    The Drive for 25

  7. WestHab says:

    As I understand it PG was thinking about this move for about 2 weeks or more. I’m sure he made a list of franco coaches he might hire. I take it they either were not interested or did not make the cut. So there was nobody that fit the complete job description. As it is often the case in the real world. Mr Cunneyworth is familar with the team he has been sucessful in the past as a head coach. All this is completely sane. It’s the panel on antichambre that were jealous they didn’t get a call.

  8. blacy says:

    OMG, it’s all about language? Really? How pathetic (que).

  9. deuce6 says:

    Hockey is a game and politics should have zero impact on it, what so ever….

    I understand us Hab fans take the game and our Habs a little too serious, but isn’t winning the main priority in any sport? If the best guy for the job happens to speak French or not, if he gets results, he is the OBVIOUS selection as head coach..

    I could care less if the guy spoke Turkish, as long as the team wins..


    Yes, I’m a Hab fan..Wanna fight about it?

  10. slamtherimtim says:

    Geoff needs to revisit the managment training class , this is a terrible news release , he should have supported Randy and thats it , dont metion the french issue with regaurds to the coach needed to be french and english , if i were Randy i would be taking a job somewheres else next year no matter what. what a slap in the face , for Randy

  11. hoffska says:

    Its been said now a thousand times but SERIOUSLY? This is the biggest issue people worried about? Does the coach speak French?
    I have heard the augment that not having a French speaking coach dishonors the great history of this club. Really? What does not hiring the best coach available and then having the team consistently lose and be a middle of the pack team or worse do to the great honor of this team?
    People need to wake up this isn’t the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s or 80’s. The Canadiens no longer have the uncontested pick of the cream of the crop of French speaking players or Coach’s.
    To top everything off even most of the elite French speaking players have made it clear that they have no wish to play for their home team because of the often insane media scrutiny.
    The point of all this is that people who are more concerned with putting language before on ice production need to give their head a shake. No one is trying to take the French out of the Montreal Canadiens that can never be done and to think that having a English only speaking coach would do that is asinine.
    Every fan of this club needs to rally around the players and coach, no matter what language he speaks, and cheer them on as loud and proud as you can.
    Having a winning team in Montreal is what will truly restore the once great honor.

  12. Nojo says:

    I’ve watched the Habs for 40+ years.
    We have to remember that to the rather small french enclave in the Americas that is Quebec looks to the Canadiens as a source of pride and identity. The team has slowly eroded it’s french factor over the years for a variety of reasons. This erosion should be reveresed within reason and that starts with effective scouting in the province. It’s a burden to the Habs organization but it is a profitable organization that could expend the resources if the commitment is there.
    I dismiss the political groups and francophone press’s complaints about Cunneyworth because their motivation is, for the most part, pure self interest.

    You cannot spend your way out of recession or borrow your way out of debt

  13. Habsrule1 says:

    As a Montreal born and raised Habs fan who lives about 30 minutes west of the Quebec border now, it really frustrates me that the Habs will not go get the best coach available as opposed to the best bilingual coach available.
    So, Babcock gets fired due to a long slump in Detroit and the Habs don’t want him?
    It’s beyond ridiculous….kinda like playing Darche over Eller.

    Go Habs Go!!

    “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

  14. vic says:

    Well the minister said that the problem should be cleared up.
    So get ypur french coach.And watch what happens when we try and get players to come here.
    And Im sure it will be along time before Quebec gets a team.
    When you have politics laying down the rules.
    I have been supporter of the Canadiens since I was a kid
    I am slowly giving up on them,They are not the same as they used to be

    • bleublancrouge says:

      Don’t give up man The Nordiques will be back soon and they will all stop being so grumpy that they have to cheer for their old rivals

      I would change my name to bluewhitered but I don’t want to start a controversy

  15. Habsolutely says:

    As far as i’m concerned, this press release was rude and disrespectful to RC. Molson basically said “sorry Randy, you’re done at the end of the season no matter what the team does, because you don’t speak french.” I just lost a lot of respect for Geoff Molson.

    • bleublancrouge says:

      Don’t hate molson for the release hate the fools that forced him to make one.

      I would change my name to bluewhitered but I don’t want to start a controversy

      • Habtastic says:

        Everyone already hates the fools (by everyone I mean mostly everyone), but leaders say things to bring about peace and reason, not to cover their butts. It was a time for something really poignant to be said about the history of the Habs and he blew it.

        The Drive for 25

    • HABSIN09 says:

      I thought the same thing right away. In fairness, Molson didn’t say that the coach would have to be French or bilingual, just to be able to communicate in the language. Rosetta Stone can get him there by next season.

  16. Dirty Frank says:

    As a Habs fan that doesn’t live in Quebec, it’s pretty frustrating that this is a big enough issue that there is an article about it. I speak English, and know a little French.

    All I care about at the end of the game is “did we get two points?”.

    99% of the time, interviews with coaches you get fabricated answers and cliche’s when asked meaningful questions, so what is the big deal? Yes, there’s heritage, and pride in Quebec’s history and culture. There’s no denying that, and I don’t mean any disrespect but what good is that when the team doesn’t win?

    If the team is indeed planning on limiting themselves to both French and English people in their management/coaching staff, then they are limiting themselves in the range of experience and talent that’s out there. Yes we’ve had the greatest coaches that ever lived at some point through history which were bilingual, but there will never be another Scotty Bowman. What this team needs is a coach that nurtures and exploits players talents on the team, and uses them to the teams advantage. Guys we have Gionta, Cammalleri, Plekanec, Cole, and up and comers like DD, Patch, Subban, Eller and one of the best goalies in the league. This team should not be in contention for the 1st draft pick.

    This team means a lot to all of us. It sucks when they lose, and people always razz habs fans when the team doesn’t play well, but something keeps us coming back. And whatever it is… is much bigger than a select few people disgusted that the INTERIM coach cannot speak French.

  17. habsnyc says:

    OK so let’s say that Cunneyworth resigns to make the protestors feel good. Then what?

    Blue, blanc et rouge. Red and White for Canada. Blue for Smurfs.

  18. Everlasting1 says:

    Lucic suspended one game, that’ll teach him.

    “For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the Gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD.” Exodus 12:12

    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

  19. bleublancrouge says:

    Let’s not forget that 90% of hockey comments (10% being Torts) are the same old thing so watch some re-runs of habs wins or losses from the martin days and feel bloody satisfied.
    I’m sorry but we are all people and speaking one language or the other doesn’t give you the right to act like a toddler who didn’t get a candy bar.

  20. kakey says:

    From now on everytime I watch a Habs game, I know for a FACT that they’ll never be an elite team ever again. We’ll only have rookie coaches from LHJMQ as suitable candidates, and will never have any experienced NHL level coaches coming here again.

    When I see how career coaches like Lindy Ruff, Mike Babcock and even Barry Trotz can sustain their teams to a certain level through good and bad times, with their effective, entertaining brand of hockey, I can be certain that none of them will ever be a coach here if they get fired by their respective teams.

    Such is the tragedy for Habs fans from ALL BACKGROUNDS with today’s announcement.

  21. Sal says:

    Prove me wrong Randy, prove me wrong…

    Sal from the Hammer

  22. HabFanSince72 says:

    I’m going to take a stab at explaining this language issue here.

    Part of the misunderstanding is that to many of you English is a tool for communication and only that. You get off a plane in Amsterdam or Ho Chi Minh City and the announcements are in English (plus the local language). You turn on your TV in a hotel in Berlin or Lima, and many of the channels are in English. etc … A Croatian in Beijing or a Korean in Paris will speak to the locals in English.

    What you need to realize is that for many people language is something else besides a tool. It’s an ethnicity. It is part of your identity. (Of course it is also that for English speakers.) So to be French or English or Italian isn’t just that you happen to use a particular set of symbols to communicate. (Should be obvious but isn’t.)

    In Quebec, French Canadians were told for years that they needed to speak English to get jobs, to get ahead, etc … I don’t think anyone is asking that the coach of the Montreal Canadians be ethnically French, but that he should be able to converse in French.

    The whole thing is complicated by the fact that there are true bigots in Quebec, and these people, who are politically irrelevant, are now throwing fuel on the fire. This serves to confuse the issue (for example someone earlier mistakenly thought the Liberal minister was asking for a boycott of Molson’s products.)

    The suggestion that there shouldn’t be a language requirement in coaching is patently false as there is one: English. (If you think a unilingual Russian could coach the Leafs then I respectfully disagree). (Or a unilingual Spanish coach in major league baseball.)

    That being said, a unilingual coach would go down a lot easier if the GM took it upon himself to be the face of the team, the way Burke (sorry) does in Toronto. I see little chance of the Goat doing this of course.

    Moreover, let’s be clear about one thing. Randy Cunneyworth might well turn into a great NHL coach, but it isn’t like we went out and hired a multiple cup winner here. So the argument that we should leave language aside and get the best man for the job doesn’t hold water in this case.

    • JF says:

      Good post. The argument about hiring the best candidate for the job obviously doesn’t hold water right now; the Habs hired from within their own organization. But it certainly will when the end of the season rolls around and the position of coach becomes vacant. Geoff Molson’s statement makes it clear that the coach must be able to communicate in French (although I hope they would accept someone who would undertake to learn French).

      But you’re right about the meaning of language, and especially a minority language, to most of those who speak it. It is part of a culture’s identity; and in Quebec, as in a few other parts of the world (the Basque region of Spain, for example), language is a highly sensitive question because of the way the French were for centuries politically and economically subjugated by the English. The passions aroused by the hiring of a unilingual English interim coach for the Habs should tell anyone that this is a real issue, even if the flames have been opportunistically fanned by nationalist groups and the more extreme elements of the French media.

    • athanor says:

      I would argue that those bigots would be truly irrelevant if, despite the fuel they are flinging on the fire, the fire died down.

      If they are getting the reaction they want, that, unfortunately, makes them relevant.

    • Habtastic says:

      “In Quebec, French Canadians were told for years that they needed to speak English to get jobs, to get ahead, etc”

      So in effect, being liberated from this has allowed some people to demand the EXACT same kind of oppression. Do we now need Matthew Lombardi to come to the Habs and win us the Cup to prove that an anglo from Montreal (although, I’m pretty sure Lombardi can speak French decently enough so even that doesn’t work) is worthy like the Rocket was?

      I’m not arguing that people equate language with culture, but this is WAY too political because it has to do with merely the head coach, not changing the signs on the building, not ridding French from the vendor signs, not selling the tickets in english exclusively. This is about personnel. Carey Price can’t to the best of my knowledge speak french. I hear the Carey chant quite often. What a stupid argument this is (not yours, the overall supposed sentiment). I’m from Montreal, but I’ve lived in Ontario for about a decade for school/work. I constantly defend us, I’m proud and for this BS to come to the surface betrays ME. The history of the Habs belongs to everyone from Montreal (and we may have fans elsewhere). To say the coach must speak French is just as insulting as the non-intentional fact that the better coach doesn’t speak it. No, wait, the first is way more insulting.

      The Drive for 25

  23. ffenliv says:

    I’m having trouble putting my head around this language business, and I don’t think it’s just because I’m an Anglophone Ontarian. I can’t get past seeing things as ‘hire the best man for the job, and run with it’.

    I’m a *very* proud Habs fan, and easily perceive their place as a cultural institution in Quebec, and in Canada, to a lesser degree. However, why is there a willingness to sacrifice (potentially) the best man for the GM/Head Coach positions to the long-standing political/cultural angst that exists between English and French Canada?

    Fans of other teams *hate* the ‘ole’ song, and yet it was sung routinely by fans at the Vancouver Olympics, and I’ve heard it break out at World Jr. games, too. Why can’t sport just be something separate from political and cultural debates. Let chering on the team, and rooting for wins be the main goal.

    When choosing candidates for the GM/Head Coach positions, I would expect character to play a role, and feel that some of that character to compel the man hired for the job to respect the position he has landed in and make an effort to learn French, should he not speak it already.

    • Nahlsy says:

      Discrimination is wrong no matter who is discriminated against or why they are discriminated against.

      If RC isn’t a qualified coach, fine get a qualified coach. If he’s not qualified because he’s the wrong colour, ethnicity, religion, or language for a job that has NOTHING to do with any of that, it’s quite simply discrimination and is WRONG. It shouldn’t be legal and there should be an investigation if he loses his job based upon discrimination, the same as a woman losing a job for being a woman, or a black man losing his job for being black should have the same rights.

      Anglo coaches have lead the Habs to 17 of their 24 Stanley Cups so it’s not as though they CAN’T be successful. This whole discrimination garbage is as disgusting as if the Yankees were to riot over the idea of hiring Derek jeter as a coach one day because he’s black and we’re in a white neighbourhood. Try to sugar coat it any way you want, but this discrimination has to END. No wonder the league doesn’t care for the habs, with all this discrimination going on in this organization and around it, the Habs should be penalized draft picks for bigoted hiring procedures the way an NFL club that refused to hire blacks would.

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        Speaking French is NOT a racial trait, it is a skill. Asking that a candidate speak French is not discrimination, it’s setting a standard.

        No one is asking that the next coach be ‘pure laine’, just that he may be able to speak to the team’s fans. We’d be happy with a Scotty Bowman or Toe Blake or even Bob Berry. Until they start losing….

        How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

    • G-Man says:

      He’s been with the Habs as an associate coach since July. Plenty of time to learn a phrase or two, right? Like it or not, Montreal is a metropolitan city that is mainly French. That is the Habs main market. Therefore, they cater to their market. That’s it. That’s all.

      • piper says:

        Then get used to loosing. Oh yea, we already are.

      • PeterStone says:

        Montreal is bi-lingual, its the rest of the province, or potentially 60%-70% of your customer base, that is unilingual francophone. Either way, your point is valid, thats the market, so you should cater to it. Imagine if the Nordiques came back and had a bi-lingual coach … and Montreal had a unilingual Anglophone coach. Not smart business.

        • ffenliv says:

          So ‘the market’ is happy to put language over qualifications? I’m really not trying to be an arse, or obtuse, but I just don’t get it. HOW can this be an issue?

          • Habtastic says:

            exactly. apparently the market demands something irrelevant to winning as opposed to something DIRECTLY related to winning. The market is apparently jingoist societal one-upmanship. Here I was thinking that this organization prided itself on winning. Can we stop with the 24 Stanely Cup stuff then, since clearly that is NOT what we are about? I for one think it is a very small percentage of people who are actually Habs fans that are offended by Cunneyworth as HC. If there were two coach’s of equal talent and one didn’t speak French, fine I’d understand. This, currently, is not the case. Why does the French media bitch about not having Markov? He’s not French. He’s just our biggest asset aside from Carey and instrumental to winning. Why would they care?

            This is just some people picking their spots.

            The Drive for 25

  24. habsnyc says:

    Headline for tomorow’s Gazette: “Cunneyworth Thown Under l’Autobus”

    I mean how much more could an owner undercut his coach’s authority? If I was Cunneyworth I would be sending my resume to the opposing team’s bench after the anthem each night.

    Blue, blanc et rouge. Red and White for Canada. Blue for Smurfs.

    • It does look that way, but you could also look at it this way: Cunneyworth now knows that, if he wants to keep the reins, he has some 6 months or so to learn French.

      Mike Boone: “With Gainey at my side, I’d walk into any dark alley in the world.”

      • habsnyc says:

        Ownership undermined Cunneyworth. The Molson statement was contradictory. On the one hand they are “doing everything they can to win,” on the other hand, their coach is twisting in the wind.

        Blue, blanc et rouge. Red and White for Canada. Blue for Smurfs.

        • G-Man says:

          He was offered the job as “interim” head coach. He’s not twisting in the wind. He took the job.

          • habsnyc says:

            He took the job. But, the illusion of him possibly remaining as coach, should he succeed, is very necessary to maintain discipline. The classic meaning of interim is – if you prove yourself you get a shot at full time. In this case, he is not the interim coach, he is the coach who will be fired in 50 games.

            Blue, blanc et rouge. Red and White for Canada. Blue for Smurfs.

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        I would be even more flexible. If he is taking demonstrable steps, that is satisfactory. It’s quite common in the workplace to allow an incumbent who is otherwise qualified the time to acquire a skill or qualification in a reasonable amount of time.

        How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

  25. bleublancrouge says:

    Well if French speaking Montrealers boycott Molson products I’m just gonna have to start a movement to get the English speakers to buy twice as much. ZING

  26. vegas says:

    Funny how had it been Muller everybody I believe would have accepted it

  27. HabsFanMTL says:

    no chat log for tonights game???

  28. Boomer says:

    I’m gonna try express my frustration here without swearing lol. I was born in Montreal, i’m half french canadian, half scottish. I can speak english and french fluently and am proud of my heritage. I LOVE the habs, but believe the idea of having a french speaking coach and or GM is RETARDED, hire the best man for the job and if need be you get a translator for the media… end of discussion.

    Boom baby!

    • LimestoneHab says:

      The coach needs to communicate with the players…that is what makes a team! If the coach is required to speak French, then what is next? All the players need to speak it as well? Good luck icing a team, let alone a competitive one. No wonder the Habs can’t attract any big name home grown talent!

      If you can’t play a sport, be one… Max Jackson

  29. SmartDog says:

    I think it’s important that we lose in BOTH official languages.

    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

  30. kakey says:

    Bob Hartley, Michel Therrien, Patrick Roy, send in your CVs.

  31. bleublancrouge says:

    Eureka! Why don’t we just set up some sort of French spokesperson or people or heck I dunno maybe a TV station that can talk about all things Habs in French only!!! Then us English people can start a controversy about how we don’t get an English Habs channel and we are living in Canada!!!

  32. ed lopaz says:

    although I agree that WINNING should be the PRIMARY OBJECTIVE of the Habs, and I believe that it is, there is a reality to conducting big business in Quebec, and the Habs are part of that reality.

    Bell, or RBC, or any other major business that you want to name,
    MUST be represented at the highest levels by an executive who can speak French fluently.

    The Habs are a big business based in the Province of Quebec.

    It would be bad business for the coach not to speak French.

    However, I have heard some interesting variations on this.

    For example, if the Habs could get someone like Mike Babcock,

    who is considered the best coach in the NHL, the media would relax


    Then Babcock would be expected to try and learn French slowly.

    Its not bigotry.

    Its business.

    • Ian Cobb says:


      The executives can speak all the French they want to. The coach however is responsible for the performance on the ice, or he loses his job. He is not paid to be a public relations guy! I do not care if the coach comes from Russia, as long as he can communicate to the players in the language they understand.

      • ABHabsfan says:

        Quicker on the keys than me, Ian!

      • ed lopaz says:

        the coach addresses the fans through the media before and after almost every practice and every game.

        the coach IS the spokesman for the team.

        the GM and the Owner (on this team) almost never address the fans.

        It is not nonsense.


        is expected to be fluent in French.

        it is not just a “public relations” responsibility.

    • ABHabsfan says:

      I agree that upper level management should be able to speak french when doing business in Quebec. However I don’t consider the coach as “upper level”. He is responsible for the on-ice product, not selling the product. President, GM, public relations (obviously)should be able to speak french. On the Habs the coach should be able to speak Czech

  33. Un Canadien errant says:

    An interesting point for all the tub-thumpers out there who say the Canadiens should just hire the best, most-qualified candidate, regardless of language.

    In 2007, the Miami Dolphins interviewed for their head coaching job and eventually settled on Cam Cameron as the best candidate and offered him the job. In the process, they also interviewed John Harbaugh and Mike Tomlin, but found them both lacking somehow.

    Ultimately, it’s impossible to know which candidate will succeed and will mesh well with the team and city and whose philosophy will best showcase the talent available on the roster. The Canadiens should form a short list of the best up-and-coming talent and focus hard on their own backyard, and from there pick the best one.

    To say that language shouldn’t be a consideration is to ignore the history of the team and the reality of the market they serve.

    How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

    • Old Bald Bird says:

      How about language being one consideration of many? Would that be fair? I mean, if whomever was seen to be the very best candidate promised to seriously try, would that be enough?

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        Agreed. Note that I said “a consideration”. Ultimately, if a unilingual anglophone coach was head and shoulders above any other candidate, he should get the job. Practically though, it’s really hard to determine which candidate is clearly better usually, which is why I used the Cam Cameron example, it’s the one that popped into my head.

        How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

    • Boomer says:

      if you limit yourself to french speaking coaches A) thats a short list and B) ita not necessarily the best guy for the job. not to mention its discrimination. hire the best guy for the job regardless of language and lets win some games.

      Boom baby!

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        You’re right, you shouldn’t mention discrimination, as it’s acceptable and common to list qualifications that are required or preferred when you’re recruiting. Speaking French is seen as a qualification.

        Now, aside from that, you probably didn’t read my post very carefully, because I didn’t state anywhere that we should limit ourselves to French-speaking coaches.

        How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

        • Boomer says:

          I’m not attacking you un canadien errant, i apologize if it came off that way. I was just throwing in my two cents. As for “speaking french being a qualification” for being l’entraineur chef de nos canadiens… I diasagree entirely, you don’t need to speak french to communicate with cammy, price, subban etc. and at the end of the day thats what matters most, being able to communicate with the players.
          isn’t it discrimination if it comes down to 2 coaches and one of them doesn’t get the job because he speaks english?

          Boom baby!

          • Un Canadien errant says:

            Not at all Boomer, no offence was taken. I did disagree with your post though, that is what I was replying to.

            You’re right that speaking French is not a requirement in the dressing room and on the ice, but the coach has many responsibilities, and one of them is to act as the ‘face’ of the team and to communicate with the public. As such, it is much more preferable to have a coach who can speak the language of the majority of its fans.

            It’s not discrimination to ask that a coach speak French, it is a skill that is valuable to an employer, and it’s one that can be acquired. The distinction is that it’s not being asked that the next coach be from Quebec or that his mother tongue be French, just that he be able to communicate in French.

            Any Montreal Canadien who doesn’t speak French would be well-advised to learn it, they would become gods in town if they did. I remember how much it meant to me as a boy who spoke only French to hear Ken Dryden, Bob Gainey, Larry Robinson and others being interviewed in French between periods by Lionel Duval on La Soirée du Hockey. It’s also a bit of a blemish on subsequent Canadiens, Saku included, that none of them made the same effort. I really liked the fact that James Wisniewski tried and took French lessons in the brief time he was here.

            How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?


        • Boomer says:

          As a french canadian, i thought it was really cool that Gionta introduced his teammates in french at the home opener last year, and when i saw the wiz taking french lessons, ditto. Also as a french canadian i cant understand how hiring a translator wouldnt suffice for some, it wouldn’t bother me at all. If mike babcock (arguably one of the best) was hired tomorrow and had a translator i just dont understand how some people could be mad… and on the flip side if he was denied because of his inability to communicate with the fans in french and we settled for mediocrity yet again… i just dont get it.

          Boom baby!

  34. Dr.Rex says:

    Im embarrassed as a Quebec born Canadian that it has come to this.

  35. WestHab says:

    ….is there a game tonight?

  36. Jonson says:

    oh poor rds…..they have been such a delight to watch especially when it comes to being loyal. i have never seen a station who is so passionate and positive when it comes to the canadiens. making it easy on the players to feel comfortable here. they have done nothing but support the canadiens and stand up for their beloved team. Brunet especially always showing nothing but support and respect for the players and the team. its a real shame they dont have their french coach right now , it just wont be the same.

    RDS……as much i love you (more then any other broadcast atleast)………..YOU HAVE KILLED THE CANADIENS FOR EVERYONE

    Boone your pessimistic view would be well appreciated at RDS. do you speak french???

  37. Ian Cobb says:

    If I were Molson, I would have called out the Media Bigots.

    And told them that he pays good money to have his coach address the players in the game of hockey, not to address the large bigots and ego fools in the media.

  38. Chuck says:

    So some nut-bar politico is calling for a boycott of Molson products? I’m sure she realizes the number of francophones that work for Molson, and whose jobs would be affected by a serious boycott… doesn’t she?

    • Ian Cobb says:

      Over the years that I have lived outside of my home province of Quebec, I have seen it dwindle from a have to a have not province. If these bigots keep it up, they will soon be 3rd world my friend!

      • Chuck says:

        I lived there until 1983, when my dad moved us to Ontario to find work after the plant in which he worked was denied financial support during the recession, and was forced to close… while it’s competitor, owned by a francophone, received all of the funding that it needed to stay afloat.

        The province will continue to rot itself from the inside out unless it can get over its insecurities and start focusing on the big picture.

  39. bleedhabs81 says:

    Why not put it to the people. Ballot those who attend the games. Make a website devoted to fan voting.

    Do you care what language the coach speaks? yes or no?

    Obviously, the ballot box can be stuffed (i.e. Komisarek an all-start)… so a bit more thought might need to be put into this… but you can see where I am going. If the people say they don’t care, then all the stupid media, lawyers, and non-hockey fans can take a flying leap.

  40. tony d says:

    Is there any truth that with the recent language maelstrom, Randy will no longer French kiss his wife and will be boycotting french fries?

    Wanted, bilingual coach, experience not necessary, will train.

  41. likehoy says:

    they’re going to nitpick no matter what
    damned if you do, damned if you didn’t.

    He could be unilingual and speak Japanese for godsakes and win 3 cups in a row, but the day we fire him is the day we say “one of the reasons he wasn’t good enough (despite 3 cups) is that he didn’t speak French”

    – If the NHL was the Wizard of Oz, Cammalleri would be the Cowardly Lion.

  42. shiram says:

    Testing out the new signature…

    Ironic signature is ironic

  43. Ian Cobb says:

    The day is over for the Hab’s to be made up of 80% from the PQ province. It is a multi country player league now. Every team has two or 4 french speaking players on their roster. Just like they might have 3 or 4 Russian players.

    The league is conducted in the English Language, both on the ice and off.

    It is like the San Diago coach has to speak Spanish. Like why? To talk to the fans or media. Hire a press spokes person.

    The day of the English, Spanish, Russian or French Bigots is over. Get a life!

    Winning type coaches need only to apply! We do not care if you speak Chinese!

    • bleublancrouge says:

      Agreed Ian a coach’s job is to handle the players, A coach with a russian speaking team needs to speak russian it is only logical… then again why am I talking logic in reference to this subject.

    • The Cat says:

      Well some big differences, Spanish isnt an official language in California. Im sure most french people would just like an honest effort at learning the language, its a matter of respect. I know some anglos think they can go anywhere on Earth and expect to get by in english…Besides learning a new language is fun. Everybody should welcome it like they do in Europe, I dont know why we got this ‘afraid of learning a new language’ disease in north america, but we do.

      [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

      • bleublancrouge says:

        RC already said he is going to try and learn french… you are way off point. I agree that respecting the language is important but keep in mind this is not the provincial hockey league. If people have such a hard time with the fact that english is the dominant language on this continent… move off it

      • Old Bald Bird says:

        I believe it stems at least partly from the reality that the majority of Anglos would not get to practice or use a second language with any sort of frequency. But you’re right, it embarrasses me somewhat to be unilingual in this country even though most of my life has transpired in a very Anglo area.

        But it works the other way too. Within the high school where I taught in southwestern Ontario, there was a small Francais Ecole (sorry if I’m writing that incorrectly), but after many years there, some of the teachers could scarcely get by en Anglais.

        Serious Question: do you think if almost all people from Quebec could speak English as a second language that this coaching question would be less of an issue? I ask because I know or believe I know that vast numbers don’t.

        • The Cat says:

          I think most dont care already about the language as long as theres an honest effort to try and learn. But you know the media, they make it an issue and people being the lemmings they are, they trumpet it eventhough I dont believe the lemmings care at the level they say they do.
          My kids go to english school and I often get ‘your kids’ french will suffer cause of it’…Im sure they dont ‘shun’ on being fluent in 2 languages in europe. So, theres definitely a closed mindedness thats hard to overcome with some folks.

          [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      “The league is conducted in the English Language, ”

      is what they said to Quebecers for generations (if you replace “the league” with “Business”).

      Besides it belies your ultimate statement regarding Chinese coaches.

      And Spanish is not to San Diego what French is to Montreal.

  44. WestHab says:

    I thought it was tradition to alternate between english and french coaches, …….oops no sorry that’s the Liberal federal party, don’t think they’ll make the playoffs either.

  45. shiram says:

    Habs founder, and english speaking Ontarian… Ambrose O’Brien.

  46. MTLCANADIENS says:

    we need a coach thats wins! doesnt matter if he doesnt speak french or not.. what ever the best solution their is for coaches out there during the summer is what we take! its all about winning not about language

  47. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …in My Asia-trade oriented business organizing trade missions and international conferences I had great relationships with MBAs and MBA associations …Geoff is, I hear, a Rich Kid with an MBA

    …though I had many and good friends among their kind, I always perceived those letters meant My Bullcrap Accreditation …in other words I was always more impressed with those old school achievers whom worked their ways from the bottom, and I perceived the MBAs felt they ‘knew it all’ but really were ‘kids in the woods’

    …I don’t know, Geoff, but the way You handled this firing of Martin and hiring of RC tells Me Your MBA was not much help

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY

  48. bleublancrouge says:

    This whole issue is pretty damn funny.
    I am an Anglo Montrealer and you don’t see any of us whining that their is no english on RDS. As far as I am concerned these are the Montreal Canadiens, our city is multi-lingual and I am pretty sure that even though Martin speaks french.. he isn’t exactly a loud mouth now is he… Now for the solution to our problem… Bring back the Nordiques because as much as the province may want it to be The Quebec City Canadiens… that will never happen.

  49. Psycho29 says:

    Just listening to Pierre McGuire….

    Wow….what a hockey expert he is.
    How an NHL team has not hired him is beyond me!!!!


  50. WestHab says:

    If RC just starts all press conferences with “bonjour” and ends with “Merci”, he’ll be off to the races.

  51. shiram says:

    Lazy french reporters, not wanting to translate an english coach…

  52. Bradzerker says:

    Does anybody still wonder why it’s so hard to get top players and personnel to sign here?

  53. SteverenO says:

    is it just the coach that must speak french?
    What about the GM?
    The Captain?
    The Goalie?

    Maybe the PowerPlay unit should be required ot have at least one French speaker on the ice at all times.

    Maybe if Gomez would learn to speak french, everyone would want him back in the lineup playing 20 minutes a game?

    The argument that the coach need to speak french is a silly one, and one that should not factor at all into the equation or the selection process.

    The media is more than capable of translating the coaches words, and, if no logical person that is a hockey fan would trade a single victory in return for being able to hear the coach explain why we lost the game in their mother tongue.

    The HABS organization consists of two distinct components. On Ice, players, coaches, GM, and trainers. and the OFF ICE component; A PR department, a marketing department, community relations dept, etc.
    The ONLY criteria for the on ice department is to create a competitive and hopefully winning team.

    Anyone who argues otherwise is badly mistaken.
    To test this argument consider the folllowing;

    a) every olayer on the team , the management and in the entire organization spoke nothing but french, and the team never made the playoffs


    b) Other than one or two players, NOBODY spoke a single word of French, Including the coaches, and the GM, and the team made the playoffs every year and rergulary competed for the Stanley Cup.

    Which team would have more fans? Which team would have happier fans?

    Case closed. Lets not waste any more space on this juvenile and completely irrelevant discussion.


    Steve O.

    • ABHabsfan says:

      well said, my man

    • Sal says:


      Sal from the Hammer

    • kholdstare says:

      You are looking at it very simplistically. There is another side whether you agree with it or not.

      What if the coach couldnt speak english is that reasonable? All the players expect to be coached in english right? Would it be ok to get coaching from a translator. What if some of the finer points were lost in translation? Wouldnt it just be simpler to hire a coach who could speak english? Maybe thats why there arent many swedish speaking coaches in the nhl.

      • bel33 says:

        Are you comparing the media to the players?

        Not really a valid argument when 95% of the players in the league speak English so of course their coach will most likely speak English. There would never be a case where a non-English speaking coach would be hired.

        Also.. the nuances aren’t going to get lost since both the translator (for RC in this case) and the media BOTH speak both official languages.

        Seriously.. I’m French Canadian… and I don’t get it. Maybe because I grew up in Ontario… but ultimately this is a hockey team, and you should hire, draft, trade for… the best. Regardless of where they came from or what language they speak.

  54. Arrow77 says:

    I’m a separatist french-speaking fan and even I think things are going too far. When you disapprove the choice of an INTERIM coach because he only speaks english, that’s where you cross the line between protecting your culture and being a bigot.

    I believe the best candidate should be chosen for the job. If that candidate doesn’t speak french, he should have the right to learn the language while still doing the job he’s been hired to do. The idea that the coach should speak french from day one is ridiculous.

    Besides, anyone who understood what Martin what saying in his post-game conferences realized it wasn’t exactly Jacques Brel who was speaking…

    • Rudy says:

      Wow, I would never have thought that something this objective could be written by a separatist francophone about the language issue (in perfect English no less), thank you Arrow, you have made me rethink my attitude regarding francophones.

    • Mike Boone says:

      Nor was it exactly Jacques Parizeau

      Mike Boone
      Hockey Inside/Out blogger
      Gazette City columnist

    • montrealtilldeath says:

      Thanks Arrow77. Loved this club since I was a child. Je me souviens Dollard St. Laurent, Claude Provost, Jean Guy Talbot, Dickie Moore, Tom Johnson, etc. et Maurice Le Rocket. We could not get the games in English on the radio so I learned enough French to understand by listening to the games broadcast on Radio Canada from Moncton. I remember Rene Lecavalier the night Rocket got number 500. I watch the games on RDS because the commentary is superior. The bottom line here for me is every one on this site loves L’equip Canadiens and wants them to win. Being from my own ethnic background and having also lived in Quebec I understand fully that Cunneyworth should learn French. People have to really understand this club is more than just a team. Much more. Molsons know this too that is why I was glad they repurchased the team. I remember Senator Hartland Molson. He attended every home game with his wife. I heard him talk about the club and there was a lot of pride and passion evident when he spoke. She is still alive and alert and probably told Geoff to got JM out of there.

      • Arrow77 says:

        I’m not sure the people who says Gauthier and Molson don’t understand why the coach should speak understand the reason themselves. Who cares about the 1-minute clips of the post-game interview? It’s full of cliches and doesn’t last long enough to say anything anyway. If you want substance, you have to go to the written medias, the Web and the various newspapers. And what’s the difference if those have been translated or not?

        The coach has to know french to understand the city, to understand the team’s fans. That is not something that can be done quickly anyway so there is plenty of time for Cunneyworth or whoever the next coach is to learn the language at his own rhythm. And if he becomes comfortable enough to talk to fans but never comfortable to give interviews in french, again, who cares?

        Sometimes, I have the feeling some french journalists are so “nationalists” because they suck so much in english!

  55. Rudy says:

    Somewhere, Bugs head is exploding

  56. Paulin98C says:

    Bill 103 mandate that all bills must finish a period (.).

  57. piper says:

    As far as I’m concerned there was no statement needed to be made at all. This is the kind of BS that will drive the Subbans, Gorges, and Prices out of town.

  58. Everlasting1 says:

    I believe other team owners around the league are laughing at english.

    “For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the Gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD.” Exodus 12:12

    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

  59. kholdstare says:

    He says it all in the very first sentence with who made this decision.

  60. Nahlsy says:

    Imagine, Scotty Bowman, Toe Blake and Dick Irvin Sr would never have been allowed to coach this club if these bigoted pieces of garbage had their way. Bigots are bigots no matter which direction they role and they should all be exposed and treated with the disgust they deserve

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      It’s been stated numerous times, but Toe Blake was Franco-Ontarian on his mother’s side and Scotty a native Montrealer. Both spoke French.

    • mr_jmac says:

      Bigoted piece of garbage .. disgust … those are some powerful words.

      As a habs fan I want the best coach hired regardless of what language he speaks. But at the same token, I am rational enough to understand that the team is situated in a province where the primary language is French and that having a coach that can communicate in French is required.

    • Ton says:

      well said, I am a quebecer and i know how to defend myself in 3 language when one of those idiots approaches me with some bull shit lame excuse. Scotty, Toe, Dick, or if its jean perron or demers who gives a shit.

    • The Cat says:

      Bowman and Bob Berry could speak french.

      [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

    • Nahlsy says:

      A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs. The predominant usage in modern English refers to persons hostile to those of differing sex, race, ethnicity, religious beliefs or spirituality, nationality, language, inter-regional prejudice, gender and sexual orientation, age, homelessness, various medical disorders particularly behavioral disorders and addictive disorders.

      I don’t care whether the coach speaks English, French, Martian or sign language so long as it it the best coach for the job. Anyone judging the coach based upon preferring people of another culture or language is a bigot. End of story.

  61. Habsolutely says:

    so from that statement I guess RC will be gone at the end of the season and a french speaking coach will be hired.

  62. LL-not the hockey player says:

    How I miss the good old days.

    Gomez sucks

    That was less vile than politics and Hockey being mixed together, and the pontifying of certain journalists.

    Poor Cunneyworth, not only does he have to turn this team around, he has also become the poster child for the language debate.

  63. sc says:

    Pathetic that he needed to make a statement

  64. rookie says:

    i would venture to say there are more ENGLISH speaking fans than french ones maybe we should threaten to boycott molson or hold our breath like the racist french press or heres an idea why dont we get a martian coach and make nobody happy

  65. Nahlsy says:

    Don Cherry has NOTHING on the bigorty expressed by the French Media and the various Politicians pissing their pants about this nonsense.

    GFTO, it’s a hockey team, hiring a hockey coach to coach hockey. Take your BS bigotry, discrimination and other all around stupidity somewhere else, like to the sewer where it all belongs.

    Effing crybabies, with their ‘go away you stupid English pig’. Enough is enough, that is discrimination and if this uproar was over hiring a black man, they would be called on it for exactly what it is. They deserve the same treatment for their disgusting actions in this case as well.

    Take your stupid language debate and cram it, keep it away from my hockey team, as whether you like it or not, English speaking people are every bit as welcome to support and cheer for the VASTLY English speaking team as the rest of you are.

  66. habin-ktown says:

    Bill 101 says that any product sold in Quebec must have a bigger French logo then English there’s no law saying Montreal canadiens need to have a French coach they must present information in French which the assistant coach or a translator can do and as far as culture Montreal has all kinds of culture and the longest culture here has been the natives not just the French last time I checked the team was called the Montreal canadiens not the french canadiens

  67. Pucker Up says:

    Molson letter translation:

    Dear makers of mountains out of molehills: get bent.

  68. habs03 says:

    If I recall correctly when the team was up for sale, there was a government institution that offered to loan 100M to any locals buyers, and since Molson bought the Habs though other partnership like BCE, he can’t say “fck off, I do wtv I want with my investment”.

  69. HabsPEI31 says:

    Cher M. Molson;

    Je suis un ardent amateur des Canadiens de Montréal.

    Je n’ai que ceci à dire, quand viendra le temps de sélectionner un entraîneur chef pour l’équipe.

    Je m’en crîsse total si cette personne parle le français ou non.

    Je crois que je partage le sentiment de la majorité des amateurs de notre fière Flanelle : nous voulons en place la meilleure personne possible pour faire le travail.

    La question de la langue n’en ai qu’une qui fait saliver les médias et ceux que se foutent carrément de l’équipe et de son succès, qui veulent voir leur nom dans les journaux et leur trente petites secondes sur les ondes radios. Tant qu’il y a quelqu’un qui parle le français, ils sont contents, peut importe ce que fait l’équipe sur la patinoire.

    Ceci n’est pas garanti de succès derrière le banc, ni sur la glace.

    Before some of you get your knickers in a knot:

    Dear Mr. Molson;

    I am an ardent fan of the Montreal Canadiens.

    I only have a few words to say when it comes to the selection of the next head coach of the team.

    I could give a flying fek if they speak French or not.

    I believe I share the same sentiment as a majority of the fans of our proud Bleu-Blanc-Rouge: we want the best person for the job.

    The language question is only one which makes the media drool, ditto for those who don’t give a bloody damn about the team and its success, wanting only to see their name in print and have their thirty seconds on the radio. As long as someone speaks French, they’re happy, irregardless of what the team is doing on the ice.

    This is no guarantee of success behind the bench, or on the ice.

    “Only a goalie can appreciate what a goalie goes through.” – Jacques Plante

  70. Although our main priority remains to win hockey games and to keep improving as a team, it is obvious that the ability for the head coach to express himself in both French and English will be a very important factor in the selection of the permanent head coach. Direct quote from the release!!

    “Mr. Cunneyworth, meet the bus. Would you mind getting under it please?” He just basically said he’s one and done, unless intense Berlitz training is scheduled.

    Why, oh why, couldn’t he have said “Our job is to win the Stanley Cup and if the right coach speaks Japanese we don’t care”…

    But sadly, no. Stop pandering Mr. Molson. It’s unseemly.

  71. shiram says:

    It’s available in french too, on the Habs website.
    Sadly, I don’t think it will stop the nay-sayers.

  72. Coach says:

    I know there’s been speculation on whether Roy will coach but for me, I don’t think he’s one of the better candidates for coach.

    What has got me thinking recently is how he’d fare as the GM. The Habs are trying to build a championship team around their star player – Carey Price. Who better knows what Carey needs in front of him for this team to win it all than the goalie who won it with Montreal before. And hey, it’d be nice to have a GM with a bit of a personality too … nothing wrong with that.

    • nunacanadien says:

      Maybe that has been the problem is building the team to support the goalie. In hockey the game is to win by scoring more. No wonder Martin loved it here, suited his style. Defense was always on Martin’s mind, to support of course Price. Maybe it is time the habs management consider signing scoring players who can outscore the other team and win like the habs of old. The image of my overall best player of all time Frank Mahavolich and his brother come to mind. Maybe it is time we hire a GM who thinks hockey and not a GM who thinks defensive hockey….hockey is also about scoring more than the other team so you can win. Hello, Geoff Molson, that is how hockey is played now in the NHL!

    • Ali says:

      He said he wouldn’t want to be GM as he doesn’t enjoy that aspect of his job that much. I think people have a very wrong impression of Roy as a coach. As a player he always stepped up and took responsibility. He never threw his teammates under the bus, why would he start as coach? The guy was fearless, had an insane desire to win and values respect of his best players (he left montreal due to being disrespected, and knows what its like to be thrown to the wolves by your coach). He mentors young kids, will fight for his team.

      On the other hand, his relationship with his GM WOULD be a gongshow.

      • nunacanadien says:

        Imagine a tandem of Serge Savard as GM and Patrick Roy as coach? Doesn’t that seem like Dynasty 2? We need the cup back in Montreal! Sign Savard as GM, fire Gauthier, or give him a golden parachute ala Carbo style or Laraques style…..

    • The Cat says:

      Roy isnt interested in becoming a GM

      [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  73. downeast hab says:

    Is this team based on culture only or Hockey. Make no wonder the coaching always SUCKS.

  74. Ali says:

    atta boy Randy. No matter what you do, you’re out of a job at the end of the year.

  75. mfDx says:

    A friend of mine spotted Michel Bergeron taking french lessons.

    • HabsPEI31 says:

      He could use them. Benoit Brunet should join him.

      “Only a goalie can appreciate what a goalie goes through.” – Jacques Plante

    • athanor says:

      I’ve been wondering if he has health issues. A couple of Antechambres ago, he couldn’t enunciate a relatively simple word. Took three tries at it and seemed to have trouble getting his head around exactly what it was. Made me think he may have had a stroke some time.

      • kakey says:

        Back in %110 a couple years ago he almost choked on a glass of water on air, and his face turned red and people were genuinely concerned until he was ok. He did have prior heart problems.

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