Tag Archives: Patrick Roy

Pundits rally behind Roy jersey retirement

Patrick Roy jersey

With the whole Patrick Roy scandal still fresh in everyone’s mind, a new debate has been sparked by The Gazette’s Red Fisher: Should the Canadiens retire his No. 33 jersey, as they’re expected to do next year?

Red says they shouldn’t:

Roy abdicated his rights to that honour with his capitulation to irrationalism on Dec. 2, 1995, when a stunned Forum crowd saw him allow nine goals on 26 shots in an 11-1 meltdown to the Detroit Red Wings. It was only then that he was taken out of the game by coach Mario Tremblay.

That move sparked lots of reaction in the newspaper punditosphere, as columnists left and right start debating the same topic.

I was going to put together a roundup of their positions, but I quickly realized that almost all of them are in favour of retiring the jersey. (Though some, like Réjean Tremblay — who went on vacation during all this but isn’t standing behind Roy — haven’t yet weighed in)

It’s not that they’re giving knee-jerk reactions to this. Most of them give solid, reasonable arguments, showing they seriously considered their positions first.

The arguments against retiring the jersey (by Fisher and others) are as follows:

  • Roy is a hothead off the ice, getting into disgusting brawls, and is not fit to share an honour with Jean Béliveau and other such legends
  • Roy turned his back on the Canadiens in 1995, showing he puts himself above the team
  • Roy is already in the Hockey Hall of Fame, which honours excellence in hockey, but retiring a jersey is an honour above that, that shouldn’t be given out to someone just because he was a good goaltender

The arguments for:

  • Roy is being honoured for his contributions on the ice, not in a bar or as a minor-league coach
  • We don’t revoke such honours just because someone got into a couple of drunken fights (and really, was Maurice Richard the epitome of gentlemanliness off the ice?)
  • It’s not like Roy killed anyone here
  • That whole abandoning-the-Habs thing was all Mario Tremblay’s fault
  • It’s already a foregone conclusion — he’s just too big to not have his jersey retired

It’s a tough decision that the Canadiens management will have to make this summer (hopefully while chugging champagne out of the Stanley Cup). But other columnists have already said they think it should happen.

Here’s what they have to say:

Réjean Tremblay (La Presse):

Cependant, je pense que le Canadien peut encore retirer le chandail 33 de Casseau sans insulter ni les anciens ni les partisans de l’équipe. Patrick Roy a été le meilleur gardien de but de l’histoire. Il a gagné la Coupe Stanley deux fois à Montréal.

Il n’a pas été parfait. Mais va-t-on me faire accroire que Doug Harvey était parfait ? Et Serge Savard ? Et Guy Lafleur ?

Oui, Roy a manqué de jugement, mais il se donne corps et âme à ses Remparts. S’il passait ses hivers en Floride en jouant au golf et en comptant ses millions, il serait un meilleur citoyen ?

Patrick Lagacé (La Presse):

Oui, Patrick Roy a fait plusieurs conneries, ces dernières années. Oui, c’est un type arrogant et désagréable. Mais il n’a tué ni violé personne. Le retrait d’un chandail de joueur de hockey est relié à ses exploits sur la glace. Il n’y a pas de points bonis pour le travail auprès des démunis, des malades et des exploités quand on décide de lui conférer cet honneur. Inversement, on ne devrait pas prendre en compte le fait que le gars est déplaisant dans ses relations avec les autres avant d’accrocher le maillot sur un cintre qui sera accroché au plafond de l’aréna.

Pierre Durocher (Journal de Montréal):

Ça ne change rien. On retire un chandail pour ses exploits sur la patinoire et non son comportement en dehors. Patrick est le meilleur gardien de tous les temps avec Martin Brodeur.

Jacques Demers (ex-coach):

Certains partisans ne se gênent pas pour prétendre qu’ils vont huer Roy lorsque son numéro 33 sera hissé dans les hauteurs du Centre Bell.

Mais, en général, je crois que les amateurs vont se souvenir de sa carrière phénoménale.

Stéphane Laporte (La Presse):

Si on retire son chandail tricolore, c’est pour ce qu’il a fait avec le tricolore. Point à la ligne. Et Roy a fait beaucoup.

Yvon Pedneault (RDS):

Patrick Roy a été un gardien qui a permis au Canadien de gagner deux coupes Stanley. Il est, jusqu’à nouvel ordre, le meilleur gardien de l’histoire du hockey. Son leadership, bien qu’exercé de façon pour le moins particulière, mena son équipe vers des objectifs parfois impensables.

Ce qu’on doit retenir avant tout c’est que l’an prochain selon le scénario envisagé par la haute direction du Canadien, on doit retirer le chandail d’un athlète… et non le chandail d’un entraîneur qui roule sa bosse dans la Ligue de hockey junior majeur du Québec.

Stu Cowan (The Gazette):

There still seem to be a lot of sports fans who expect something more from the players they cheer for. They seem to think that just because someone can dunk a basketball, hit a baseball or stop a hockey puck that they should also be a pillar of society.

When they hand out the Academy Awards, only acting ability is taken into account – not what Hollywood’s stars do when they’re not being filmed. Why shouldn’t it be the same way with sports?

Coming down on Red’s side? So far, only fellow Gazette columnist Jack Todd:

I think it was Maxim Lapierre who said last week that it’s all about the numbers and that nothing else should matter. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When it comes to this particular honour, it’s about the numbers and everything else.

The numbers say Roy belongs in this company. Everything else says he does not.

Non-pundits, meanwhile, are staying on the fence.

Jean Béliveau:

Honnêtement, je ne sais pas ce que je ferais. Est-ce qu’il faut séparer les exploits sur la glace de la vie courante? Faudrait-il attendre avant de retirer son chandail? Ce sont certainement des questions que le comité devra se poser.

Guy Carbonneau:

The Montreal Canadiens have been here for 100 years and they’ve made a lot of good decisions over the years. I’m sure they’ll sit down and talk about it and make the right decision on this.

Info 800 to be stripped of its info

CHRC Info 800, the Quebec City version of Info 690/940 News, is going to be eliminating its news-gathering operation by firing all its journalists, a move which journalists aren’t too pleased about.

Ironically, Info 800 is being sold to local interests (including Patrick Roy) by Corus Entertainment for $282,177.40, becoming one of the few locally-owned media outlets there. It’s the new owners who want to make the cuts, despite reassuring the CRTC that the takeover wouldn’t reduce local programming (they even referenced the “montrealization of the airwaves” in their submission as an argument in favour of the purchase), and that they didn’t expect any journalists to be affected:

Exceprt from CRTC-2007-1374-4

The idea is to turn Quebec City’s only remaining AM station into a news/sports talk station, with emphasis on sports. Its schedule will be all-sports in the afternoons and evenings, and the station would cover local sports events such as Rouge et Or university football games and Roy’s Quebec Remparts junior hockey team.

CHRC proposed schedule

The request for transfer of ownership of the station will be heard by the CRTC on Feb. 26 in Vancouver. Submissions are due by Jan. 23.