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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New Cumberland fire hall goes to rezoning hearing

Official community plan is also to be amended for the site

Mother bear and two cubs spotted in Crown Isle neighbourhood in Courtenay

Reduce the risk of an interaction by removing potential food sources

Mount Washington to open Dec. 4 with COVID-19 protocols in place

Reservations for some services, face coverings will be required

‘Bad blood’ over pathology issue, says Island Health medical director

Regional hospital district board pushes for pathology service in Courtenay, Campbell River

Suspect robs store, stabs clerk in Courtenay

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for suspect in Ryan Road incident

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Body discovered floating in water near Lasqueti Island

JRCC reports personnel aboard fishing vessel made the find

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

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

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

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Most Read