Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Vanbiesbrouck and Versus

One of the stories on the airwaves this afternoon comes from Prime Time Sports host Bob McCown, who is raising a stink over the fact the NHL's broadcast partner, Versus, has hired former NHL goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck as an analyst.

Vanbiesbrouck was last making headlines in the hockey world when he was the head coach of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyounds of the OHL. In March, 2003, the former netminder left the organization after calling the team's black captain, Trevor Daley, a racial slur. From an article recounting the incident:
"I used the n-word instead of using Trevor," Vanbiesbrouck told the Sault Star after coaching the Hounds to a 5-3 win against the Windsor Spitfires last night. "I used it and I just was not thinking.

"I don't know where it comes from. I have no answer for that. It was stupid. I plan on resigning (as early as today). It's the only thing to do. I don't want to embarrass anybody any more."
Daley, now a defenceman with the Dallas Stars, left the junior team after the incident took place, and would go onto play in the AHL and NHL the next season. Vanbiesbrouck hasn't been heard from since, something one NHL executive speculated would happen after the fallout in 2003, saying it was probable the ex-goaltender "won't work in hockey again" because of his use of the slur.

Not true, apparently.

We don't get Versus broadcasts on Canadian airwaves, aside from when TSN picks up their feed, and I haven't yet seen a game involving Vanbiesbrouck. Still, I wonder if there will be any backlash against the rebranded network or if people are willing to move on — as they have with Marty McSorley — a few years after the fact.


At 6:43 p.m., October 18, 2006, Blogger BlackCapricorn said...

Score another one for Vs. Boy, between the terrible cuts to action not happening on the ice to Emrick's constant prattling on about a junior hockey story while someone scores- Vs has me hooked! Anyone need some racism with their Versus Frosted Flakes?

At 7:43 p.m., October 18, 2006, Anonymous SabreMark said...

Come on. He used the "N" word once, 4 years ago, and he has paid heavily for it. Give the guy a break.

At 9:15 a.m., October 19, 2006, Anonymous roy33 said...

Minor nitpick: it's spelled Versus, not Verses. :)

At 2:51 p.m., October 19, 2006, Blogger Chris said...

Well in fairness to Vanbiesbrouck other people have been involved in vehicular homicide or thuggery and gone on to have productive NHL careers so one moment of indescretion shouldn't be taken as fatal to his participation in the NHL in some way shape or forum. I mean surely if Bertuzzi is allowed to continue playing and he may have crippled a man, Vanbiesbrouck can take part in a panel discussion.

At 5:53 p.m., October 19, 2006, Blogger DCThrowback said...

Definitely agree with SabreMark & Chris. He has been punished enough - let him do his best on Versus. Also, Versus is showing all hockey games in HD on DirecTV channel 95 - that is sweet. Hockey in HD is infinitely better than in non-HD. That's one move I am definitely for.


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