Montreal’s storied franchise, Les Canadiens, are in the market for a coach, Guy Carbonneau having been ignominiously fired.
For many in this hockey-mad, linguiistically challenging province, the idea of an unilingual anglophone coaching the Canadiens is akin to having a Scotsman serving as chef in a 3-star Michelin rated Paris restaurant; even if he could do the job, it simply isn’t done.
On the other hand, many argue the best coach for the job should be hired, regardless of his proficiency in the language of Bridget Bardot. Still others say that to have a coach who can’t communicate with the ravenous media hordes in a province where hockey is clost to religion borders on sacrilege.
The last unilingual anglo to coach the Habs was Al MacNeil in the 1970-71 season and he won a Stanley Cup.
Very much in the running for the coaching job, is Bob Hartley, the former Colorada and Atlanta coach, who is a francophone from Ontario, fluently bi-lingual from Ontario.
But what if Bob Gainey and the Canadiens’ brass decide the best coach available is an unilingual anglophone? Should they hire him?
Before you answer in the affirmative, what would your answer be if the Toronto Maple Leafs were looking for a coach and the best one available was an unilingual francophone? Should they hire him?
I thought so.