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

Thieves harvest from 11 unlocked cars in Oak bay

Looting unlocked cars called ‘farming,’ says deputy chief

Friday night tickets affect Saturday behaviour at the University of Victoria

Saanich police see direct response after issuing several $230 fines

Sidney part of a region that suffers ‘chronic shortage’ of daycare spaces

Consultants find that Sidney needs 233 new spaces to meet the current demand for daycare

HMCS Victoria popping up as training sessions underway

MARPAC says plume of smoke normal for recharging submarine

West Shore RCMP seeks video footage after homeowner interrupts Colwood break and enter

Police were called to 600-block of Stornoway Drive late Sunday

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

COVID-19 liquor, music rules extended with fines

‘Nightclubs must cease operating as nightclubs’

Carole James heads ‘caretaker’ B.C. government

James is among 15 MLAs retiring at the end of their current term

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

Most Read