Fans didn't have a problem with Doan serving as captain

TERRY JONES, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 12:00 PM ET

QUEBEC CITY -- Nuthin'.

There wasn't a boo in the building.

When the name of Shane Doan came over the public address system announcing the lineups before the game, his name could have been Shane LaDoan.

When No. 19 stepped on the ice with the captain's C stitched on the new Team Canada sweater last night for his first shift of Canada's game against Finland -- an exhibition to prepare the teams for the IIHF world hockey championship -- there was no negative reaction at all.

Last year, when Doan was named captain of the Canadian team which he led to a gold medal at the world hockey championship in Moscow, there was a massive controversy back home which made it all the way to the House of Commons.

A parliamentary committee passed a motion which called for Hockey Canada to explain the Doan captaincy in reference to an alleged ethnic comment directed toward a French Canadian official during an NHL game in December 2005 between his Phoenix Coyotes and the Montreal Canadiens.

Doan denied making the comment and was not punished by the NHL after an investigation into the alleged incident.

Doan expressed his shock and disappointment that he once again was under attack in his own nation. He then went out and had a whale of a tournament for Canada.

But this year, there was nothing.

In Doan's first two days here, he wasn't asked a single question about the subject from either English media or French.

Doan said had no idea if there would be negative reaction when he hit the ice last night.

"I really didn't know what to expect. I wasn't really too worried about it," he said.

"It's not true, so it's over and done with."

Indeed, it appears to be. Finally.

Which is a good thing considering this tournament is being held in Canada for the first time, not only to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the IIHF but the 400th anniversary of Quebec City.

Doan said he didn't even consider for a split second not being part of this team because of the storm which his selection as captain caused back home last year. Indeed, what happened after that, with so many people who knew him, his religious background and the class act that he always has been, stood up and spoke volumes of praise for the kind of Canadian the Halkirk, Alta., native always has been.

"It seemed that I had incredible support from every- body in Canada," Doan said. "And that's from Quebec to Western Canada and all over. I wasn't really worried too much about getting negative reaction."

It was something of a surprise that Team Canada named the captain before the first exhibition game. They usually wait until just before the tournament starts. But the tournament starts for the team in Halifax, so it turned out to be a good move.

"He's our captain. He's the captain for the players in the room and the coaches that coach the team," head coach Ken Hitchcock said. "I know he represents Canada and he's done a great job. He'll represent us well.

"I think if anything, he stood tall under trying circumstances last year and that just shows you his personality and character. I don't think we could get a better guy to follow.

"We talked to him and it's not a distraction," Hitchcock said of the player for whom fans in Rexall Place chanted "Doan! Doan! Doan!" urging the Oilers to select the home-province player with the sixth pick in the 1995 draft, only to witness the Oilers pick Steve Kelly. Doan would go next to the Winnipeg Jets.

RESPONSIBILITY

"I think my responsibility is to make it as good of an experience for everyone as possible. That usually involves winning. I think it's so important to keep the team close and keep the guys enjoying the fact that they get to represent their country. It's a huge thing for me and one of the reasons I enjoy coming so much."

So does this make him the new Captain Canada, totally taking the torch from Ryan Smyth who held the title for most of the front end of the decade?

"No," Doan said. "But I'm going to get teased about that. Smytty has done such a phenomenal job and has won so much with Canada that I don't think he has much to worry about."

Better to be teased about that than go through what he had to go through last year all over again, especially here at home.


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