April 23, 2014 10:48 am

Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean apologizes after French-speaking referee comment

ABOVE: Do you agree with Ron MacLean’s controversial comments? 

TORONTO – Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean has apologized for setting off a social media firestorm during Tuesday’s Montreal-Tampa Bay game.

“First of all, I want to say I’m sorry. It’s divisive any time you become about French and English in our country. But I didn’t intend to go down that path,” MacLean said later.

During the Canadiens’ 4-3 win over the Lightning, MacLean suggested a French-speaking referee should not have worked the game.

The comment apparently stemmed from a complaint by Lightning coach Jon Cooper, who felt his team lost on Sunday because of a bad call from ref Francois St. Laurent.

Fellow commentator Elliotte Friedman pushed MacLean to clarify his stance on the referee situation.

“So you’re saying there should never be a French referee in Quebec?” Friedman asked.

“Just this time, just after what happened in Game 3,” MacLean said.

MacLean suggested the NHL used a French referee to send a signal to the Florida team in the wake of Cooper’s complaint.

“When you send a referee from Quebec into the next game… I wouldn’t have sent an Alberta ref in to do an Alberta game had an Alberta official been involved in a tough Game 3,” MacLean said. “I’d have no problem with Game 5, 6 or 7.”

The Canadiens swept Tampa Bay in four games.

 

Reaction on Twitter:

-with files from The Canadian Press

© Shaw Media, 2014

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