The native of Gatineau, Que., firmly defended his former Phoenix Coyotes and Team Canada teammate when asked about the Doan controversy.
“As long as I don’t have any proof that it was him who said that, I have a hard time believing that story, I can’t believe it,” Briere said in a media scrum conducted in French. “Shane is one of my best friends. He’s never said anything racist towards anybody since I’ve known him. I’ve never even heard him swear.”
Doan’s captaincy at the IIHF world championship came under fire by federal politicians on Parliament Hill this week, re-hashing an incident during a December 2005 NHL game in Montreal when Doan was accused of uttering an alleged slur and profanity towards four French-Canadian on-ice officials.
Briere says there’s no way Doan could have said that.
“We spent a lot of time together when we were together in Phoenix, at home and on the road, and I never heard him swear once,” Briere said after Friday’s pre-game skate at HSBC Arena. “So for me, it’s practically impossible to believe. And I’ve seen him extremely frustrated in different situations, not only on the ice but also off the ice, because we’re close, and I’ve never heard him swear. So for me it’s real tough to believe, I can’t believe he said that.”
Briere said Doan called him to explain what had happened.
“He told me what he said was ‘four Frenchmen in Montreal.’ And he felt bad about even saying that,” said Briere. “So I’m convinced he didn’t swear or say anything racist.”
Briere feels saddened that Doan has had to go through this.
“It’s too bad. He’s one of the greatest people I’ve ever known,” Briere said. “He’s somebody that would do anything for anybody who is trouble. He’s one of my best friends. It’s too bad his reputation has been called into question.
“You know, if it’s someone else who isn’t that honest a person and says stuff on the ice … but in this case, he’s one of the best persons I’ve ever known.”