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Stereotype of the Month Entry

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Ted Nolan given apology for QMJHL incident

WebPosted Mon, 19 Dec 2005 19:00:36 EST
CBC Sports

The Chicoutimi Sagueneens apologized to Ted Nolan on Monday after some of the junior hockey team's fans hurled racial slurs at the Moncton Wildcats coach during a game last week.

Nolan, 47, an Ojibwa from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., said the verbal abuse he endured from the crowd at the Centre Georges Vezina during Friday's 4-3 loss left him trembling after the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game.

Some fans whooped and made tomahawk gestures at the aboriginal coach, prompting the Sagueneens to post an apology on their website.

"The disgraceful acts by several spectators don't represent the image of our fans and the regional population," the team said.

"The management of the Sagueneens understands and respects the multicultural aspects within (the league) and doesn't at all accept this kind of behaviour."

Nolan, a former coach of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres, told reporters after the game that the league should do more to combat verbal abuse from fans.

"I don't know if it's a matter of them needing better security here, but they do need better manners in this town," he said.

League commissioner Gilles Courteau, in a statement issued Monday afternoon, called the incident "distasteful and regrettable."

"Like Mr. Ted Nolan, all players and team staff members are part of the QMJHL family without allusion to their nationality or ethnic background," he said.

Guy Carbonneau, vice-president of the Chicoutimi team, said the team was sorry for what happened, but added there was probably little that could have been done to avoid it.

"It's a sporting event," he said in an interview from Dallas. "There are people that go there, they're emotional, they drink, and sometimes people think they're being funny with their comments. But the comments aren't funny for others.

"There's 4,600 people in the rink most nights and I'm sure 4,596 don't approve of what was said."

Bill Schurman, general manager of the Wildcats, said he's satisfied with the response from Chicoutimi.

"We certainly accept the apology of the Chicoutimi organization ... All parties feel bad that it happened."

But Schurman said the issue should require further action from the league. "I think if we adopt a zero tolerance rule in all of our buildings for any kind of abuse, including racial abuse ... then if anyone suggests a racial comment, out they go," said Schurman.

"You have certain codes of conduct for your arenas. ... You can't smoke, you can't throw anything on the ice, and certainly abusive vocabulary and behaviour should become part of the rules of having a Quebec Major Junior League team."

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