The father of Alberta NHL hockey export Shane Doan voiced disgust yesterday over a two-year-old, on-ice controversy being whistled into the political arena.
A stunned Bernie Doan decried what he called "political grandstanding" over a furor to be heard by a Commons committee today about his son's fitness to captain Team Canada at the World Hockey Championships in Russia.
"It's kind of sad this would be an issue within the government when there are so many important issues," said Doan, of Halkirk, 290 km northeast of Calgary.
"With the childishness of our politicians, it's no wonder Joe Public is so fed up with the political shallowness."
At issue is an allegation Doan referred to a French- Canadian referee in 2005 as a "f----g Frenchman," though the accusation was denied by the Phoenix Coyote forward and dismissed by the league.
But the referee has stood by the allegation.
Bernie Doan said it's pathetic the issue is being used to deepen the country's French-English divide, adding it's based on a falsehood.
"It's a joke -- ask anyone in the league if Shane uses that kind of language," he said.
"Ask any of the French players who've been around him, like Daniel Briere and Denis Gauthier."
The defiant father said he doesn't think the controversy will act as a distraction to Team Canada.
Olympic speed skating gold medallist Catriona LeMay Doan, who's married to the hockey player's cousin, said it's almost inconceivable a deeply religious Doan would utter such words.
"He's a good person -- I never, ever heard anyone in any situation talk poorly of him," said the Calgarian, adding she wonders why Hockey Canada officials have agreed to meet the Official Languages Committee.
"Politics is in sport, unfortunately, so when I was competing I stayed out of politics."
Doan's hometown stands behind their famous son, said Halkirk's Mayor Ross Elsasser.
And he expressed surprise the issue would be resurrected.
"It's a joke -- it's something that supposedly happened two years ago and he was cleared ... he doesn't have a racist bone in his body," said Elsasser.
"When it first came across the news back then, it was a big farce -- everybody here laughed about it because Shane's a fairly religious guy."