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MPs crossing line by probing Team Canada captain: Dryden

[PoliticsWatch updated 2:20 p.m. May 2, 2007]

OTTAWA  — Liberal MP Ken Dryden is speaking out against a number of his colleagues who are seeking answers as to why Hockey Canada selected Phoenix Coyote forward Shane Doan as captain of Team Canada at this year's world hockey championships.    
 
The MP and Hall of Fame goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens said while the MPs have a right to hear from Hockey Canada officials, he found MPs' interest in the selection of the captain of the national hockey team "disturbing" and "puzzling."

"It's Hockey Canada's decision to make," Dryden told reporters after Wednesday's Liberal caucus meeting. "If we don't like it we can complain about it. (But) we cannot pretend to choose who that captain of Team Canada should be."

The selection of Doan has angered a number of Quebec politicians in Ottawa because of an incident two years ago when Doan allegedly made a slur against a French-Canadian NHL referee. 
 
The NHL investigated the incident and cleared Doan, but the official insists he made the comment. 

On Tuesday, MPs from all parties on the Commons official languages committee passed a Bloc Quebecois motion that called Hockey Canada officials to appear before them to explain the selection of Doan as captain. 

The officials from Hockey Canada have agreed to appear on Thursday morning before the MPs to defend their selection. 
 
Dryden said that Hockey Canada obviously felt Doan was not guilty of making the slurs or they wouldn't have selected him as captain.  

"The only thing that you can do is take it on the basis that it's the best information we have," he said. "Somebody else has looked at it more carefully than we have."

While Dryden has questions about the probe, one Tory cabinet minister told reporters Wednesday that he thought it was important that MPs study the issue.  

"We are two nation in this country and I think each of them should be respected," said Labour Minister Jean Pierre Blackburn

The MPs' decision to call the Hockey Canada officials is being roundly criticized on sports talk radio programs across the country, as many hosts believe that politics and hockey do not mix.

However, recent history has shown that hockey has been getting political. 

In the last election, the Bloc Quebecois' election platform included a promise to have Quebec field their own sports teams at international events, such as the Olympics. 

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has also made his love of hockey no secret. The PM is writing a book on hockey history and has attended a number of playoff and regular season NHL games as prime minister. 

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