Montreal Canadiens defenceman Jeff Petry (26) celebrates along with Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher (11) after scoring the game winning goal past Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (30) during overtime NHL Eastern Conference Stanley Cup playoff action in Toronto on Saturday, August 1, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

NHL hit with criticism over English-only version of ‘O Canada’ on Saturday

Anthem by Buble was recorded at an empty Rogers Arena in Vancouver

The National Hockey League says it presented an English-only version of the Canadian national anthem on Saturday night because the Montreal Canadiens were considered the road team in their opening game of the league’s restart against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Toronto.

The decision to use an English-only version of “O Canada” drew the ire of some on social media, including former Montreal mayor and federal politician Denis Coderre, who blasted the league for the lack of French on Twitter.

“O Canada” was performed by Canadian crooner Michael Buble while an instrumental version of the “Star Spangled Banner” was played at Scotiabank Arena ahead of Game 1 of the best-of-five series between Pittsburgh and Montreal.

The anthem by Buble, a Grammy Award-winning singer, was recorded at an empty Rogers Arena in Vancouver.

It was also used before the Edmonton Oilers-Chicago Blackhawks game at Rogers Place in Edmonton, the other NHL hub city, earlier Saturday.

A spokesman for the NHL said in an email an English version of the anthem was used because Montreal was technically the road team for its opening games against Pittsburgh.

“Game 1 and 2 of the series are “road” games for Montreal,” wrote Gary Meagher. “When they are the home team (Games 3 and 4) — the game presentation and hockey operations will include a number of the elements of a game at the Bell Centre.”

A senior spokesperson for the Canadiens organization said ultimately those kinds of decisions in the bubble fall to the league.

But Paul Wilson, the club’s vice-president of public affairs and communications, told The Canadian Press that team owner Geoff Molson noticed the lack of French during the anthem, asking Wilson to inquire about why it was the case in a text message.

Some social media users piled on when they realized the lack of French in the anthem — especially given the Canadiens were playing.

The always outspoken Coderre, an ardent Habs fan, also brushed off a fellow Twitter user’s suggestion it was a Pittsburgh home game.

Coderre said he’d heard a bilingual Canadian anthem performed at a game played in Pittsburgh previously.

ALSO READ: Fans still drawn to arenas despite secure zones as NHL returns to ice

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

NHL

Just Posted

Kayaking the Johnstone Strait

An unpredictable delight for local travelers

Patrick brothers pioneered hockey and tried, but failed, to remove violence

New history thesis shows their efforts to sell a “clean game” in Oak Bay

Offleash dogs put shorebirds resting on Tofino beaches in jeopardy

“It’s a free-for-all. Most of the violators are locals, I believe, but there are visitors as well.”

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

EDITORIAL: RCMP remind motorists to drive carefully in our school zones

30km/h speed limit in school zones in effect 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on school days

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Water supplies declared safe in wake of major tire fire near Ladysmith

Concerns about water quality arose after Sept. 10 scrap yard fire at Schnitzer near Nanaimo Airport

Hundreds march against location of Duncan safe injection site

A Voice for Our Children opposes centre being near schools, recreation sites

Suspect robs store, stabs clerk in Courtenay

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for suspect in Ryan Road incident

Metchosin inmate sentenced to 12 months in jail for escaping custody

Sentence to be served concurrent to a life sentence he was already serving

Heritage revitalization project in downtown Victoria a labour of love for developers

The tiny Adelphi Block offers unique living spaces, urban lifestyle on busy Old Town corner

Most Read