MONTREAL – Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan is “incredibly happy” that his dispute with former federal sports minister Denis Coderre was settled out of court.
Doan was on his first visit to Montreal since an Aug. 27 agreement was reached to drop both his $250,000 suit against Coderre and a countersuit over allegations the Coyotes veteran used an ethnic slur against francophone officials during a Dec. 13, 2005 game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
The case was to have been heard in Quebec Superior Court in September.
Doan was given a gross misconduct penalty by referee Stephane Auger for abuse of officials at the end of the game, a one-sided win by Montreal. Reports said he had referred to the officials as “(expletive) Frenchmen.”
For the first time, the NHL had assigned four francophone officials—two referees and two linesmen—to work together at a game and not only chose to do it in Montreal but publicized the event.
“The fact is that I never said that and I was still dealing with this,” said Doan. “I don’t know how it ever became what it became, but I’m happy it’s over with. Incredibly happy.
“I couldn’t fathom how I ended up in the middle of that mess.”
A statement from Coderre’s office said that in the settlement Doan admitted to making a derogatory comment to the officials, but that he maintained he was not the player who made the comment.
Doan filed the suit after Coderre wrote to Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson to say that Doan was unfit to represent Canada at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
Coderre had asked for a league investigation, but the NHL took no action against the player.
Doan said that during the game he was trying to calm down goaltender Curtis Joseph, who was upset that a goal had been scored with a high stick, and may have suggested the referees were “homers,” but denied using either an expletive or an ethnic slur.
He also felt Coderre used the incident to make headlines.
“You feel you’re dealing with people with a different agenda who aren’t concerned with what it does to you but only what it does for them,” he said.
Doan was to sit out the Coyotes’ game Monday night against Montreal to serve the last of a three-game suspension he incurred last week for a blindside hit on Anaheim’s Dan Sexton. He is to return to action Tuesday night in Ottawa.