French players have it tough

Bob Sirois is unsure how English Canada will react to the provocative book, but he knows he's...

Bob Sirois is unsure how English Canada will react to the provocative book, but he knows he's already making waves south of the border. (QMI Agency/Joel Lemay)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:06 PM ET

MONTREAL -- Former Washington Capitals forward Bob Sirois launched a book Monday that says life in the NHL is much tougher for French players than other Canadians.

Sirois' book -- Discrimination in the NHL: Quebec Hockey Players Sidelined -- claims French players are less likely to be drafted, have shorter careers and earn less money than their Anglophone counterparts. The book even states that some NHL teams have instituted a total ban on French-Canadian players.

The English-language book, translated from a 2009 French edition, makes its argument on the basis of a comprehensive list of NHL draft picks from Quebec since 1970.

Sirois, who was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1974 but played all but four of his 286 NHL games with the Capitals, told QMI Monday that he decided to translate his book into English after taking heat for his French-only version.

"Last year I was criticized since my book wasn't in English," said Sirois, 56. "Now I hope my detractors will read it."

Sirois is unsure how English Canada will react to the provocative book, but he knows he's already making waves south of the border.

"My editor tells me that there are a lot of requests in the States," he said.

A few changes were made to Sirois' English edition, including the cover art. The French version shows a large, snarling bull dressed in a red jersey squaring off at centre ice against a smaller frog wearing what could be perceived as a Quebec Nordiques uniform.

The English-language publisher, Baraka Books, deemed the cover to be a tad too strong. They opted instead for a cover that shows the lower half of a hockey player wearing a red, white and blue uniform who is skidding to a stop on the ice.

A spokesperson for Baraka Books denied the cover change was an attempt to avoid controversy. They said the red, white and blue uniform was an allusion to the French flag, adding that it's common for English and French editions of Canadian books to have different covers.

Sirois, a right winger, recorded 92 goals and 120 assists in a career that spanned seven NHL seasons. He spent parts of five other seasons in the AHL and Switzerland.


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