According to the National Hockey League, on Saturday night, they presented an English-only translation of the Canadian national anthem since the Montreal Canadiens were thought to be the road team in their opening game of the league’s restart against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Toronto.
The former Montreal mayor, federal politician Denis Coderre and other social media users who blasted the league for the lack of French on Twitter got the attention from the decision to use an English-only version of “O Canada.” An instrumental version of the “Star-Spangled Banner” was played at Scotiabank Arena ahead of Game 1 of the best-of-five series between Pittsburgh and Montreal. At the same time, “O Canada” was performed by Canadian crooner Michael Buble.
The anthem by Buble was recorded at an unoccupied Rogers Arena in Vancouver. Buble is a Grammy Award-winning singer.
Earlier Saturday at Rogers Place in Edmonton, the other NHL hub city, the anthem was also used before the Edmonton Oilers-Chicago Blackhawks game. An English version of the anthem was used because Montreal was technically the road team for its opening games against Pittsburgh, according to the spokesman for the NHL.
Gary Meagher stated that Games 1 and 2 of the series were “road” games for Montreal. He added that the game presentation and hockey operations would include a number of the elements of a game at the Bell Centre when they are the home team (Games 3 and 4).” Those kinds of decisions were ultimately in the bubble fall to the league, according to the senior spokesperson for the Canadiens organization.
Report from Paul Wilson, the club’s vice-president of public affairs and communications, indicate that team owner Geoff Molson noticed the lack of French during the anthem, asking Wilson to inquire about why it was the case in a text message.
After realizing the lack of French in the anthem, some social media users piled on. The always outspoken Coderre stated that he heard a bilingual Canadian anthem performed at a game played in Pittsburgh previously.