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Gauthier apologizes for upsetting fans over hiring Cunneyworth

Jan 2, 2012, 3:58 PM EDT

Pierre Gauthier Getty Images

As if things couldn’t get any weirder in Montreal, Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier goes and takes things a step further.

Gauthier issued an apology for upsetting fans in Montreal and Quebec for appointing Randy Cunneyworth as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

“I’m sorry if we upset people. Because that certainly wasn’t our intention,” Pierre Gauthier told reporters Monday.

Gauthier followed saying they would re-evaluate the position at the end of the year, something they would’ve done anyway considering Cunneyworth is just the interim head coach.

Many fans in Quebec were outraged that a French-Canadian coach, or at least one who could also speak French, wasn’t hired for the job following Jacques Martin’s firing. Gauthier was initially indignant about the move. His apology, however, shows that public pressure in Montreal is a very powerful thing.

  1. laurely515 - Jan 2, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Does refusing to hire someone because he doesn’t speak French qualify as discrimination based on ethnic origin under Canadian law? If Cunneyworth doesn’t get the job, I think it’d be hilarious to see him sue the team.

    • danphipps01 - Jan 2, 2012 at 5:31 PM

      I want this to happen so very badly, but unfortunately, he’d have to win like the next fifteen or twenty games, steal a playoff spot and avoid getting swept in the first round to make the case that he wasn’t just fired for being as bad as Jacques Martin.

  2. icedtearex - Jan 2, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    You Easterners are a joke. Montreal will never win another Stanley Cup. No different than Toronto. No wonder Claude Noel refused to address the Montreal press in French last time in Winnipeg. Count the western cups vs the eastern cups in the last 30 years. By the way when you are of french descent here in Western Canada,as in my case, Canada comes first,Western Canada comes next,Manitoba behind those, and my city last.Here in Winnipeg we could care less if the coach only spoke Swahili,once he wins.STUPID EASTERNERS.

  3. cowboyscanada - Jan 2, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Dont apologize Gauthier!! Dont cave to pathetic fans in quebec. Hab fans from Western Canada could care less what language our coach speaks. Its embarrassing being a Mtl fan sometimes when we have to cater to the French! Sad…..

  4. sfbookreviews - Jan 3, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    This is the absolute dumbest controversy in the history of sports. Get over yourselves, Quebecers. Some people just don’t parlez-vous francais (and yes, I know, that’s not correct, but it’s close enough to anyone who doesn’t want to coach the Canadians).

    Randy Cunneyworth deserves better.

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