New book true or faux?

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:49 AM ET

Go ahead, tell Brent Sutter there is discrimination against French Canadian players in the NHL and Hockey Canada's programs.

We dare you.

Just be braced for a very terse reply.

"There's no truth to that, whatsoever," stated Sutter, the Calgary Flames head coach who spent 17 seasons in the NHL and is in his third year as a head coach.

"There's no merit to that going on in the sport. Not that I've ever seen."

Former NHLer Bob Sirois released a book yesterday -- Le Quebec mis en echec: la discrimination envers les Quebecois dans le LNH (Quebec bodychecked: discrimination against Quebeckers in the NHL), -- claiming prejudice against Francophone players exists throughout the sport.

Sirois makes his claim with statistics and tables which he says shows French-Canadian players aren't held in as high regard as anglophones within the NHL ranks.

"I don't know about the numbers, but I've played against and with very good French-Canadian hockey players and I always thought there was a strong representation in the NHL," said Flames captain Jarome Iginla.

"I personally don't (see discrimination), but I'm not French-Canadian.

"But I haven't seen it in the dressing room or on the ice."

Calgary's current roster has no players from Quebec.

The book's cover shows a hockey-playing frog facing off against a bull.

Sirois, who played nearly 300 games for the Washington Capitals and the Philadelphia Flyers during a NHL career that ended in 1979-80, also claims too few players from Quebec are part of Canada's world junior team.

Sutter, who guided Canada to a pair of gold medals, bristled at that suggestion, saying he didn't care where the players on his squads were from.

"Nothing there. I know being there for two years, you took your best players in the nation who can form your best team," Sutter said.

"It didn't matter whether they were from Vancouver or St. John's, Newfoundland, you took your best players as far as forming your best team.

"Never ever once did (something like that) cross anyone's mind."

It has been suggested Quebec should send a team to international tournaments, be it the world juniors or the Olympics.

"I don't want to get into that," Sutter said. "That gets into politics, political stuff. That's not for me to say."

Regehr a hit for HEROES

Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr will be making a hit on and off the ice for every check he throws.

For every hit Regehr registers, he'll donate $75 to the Impact Society's HEROES program, which will be matched by Packers Plus Energy Services Inc.

Impact Society offers a experiential-learning program for youth -- delivered through an interactive classroom experience -- to help them make better choices.

His wife, Kristina, is completing the HEROES Volunteer Instructor training program this fall and plans to instruct as soon as possible following the completion.

RANDY.SPORTAK@SUNMEDIA.CA


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