COC approves Men's hockey roster

Bertuzzi and Jovanovski

Bertuzzi and Jovanovski

12/22/2005 10:20:56 PM

VANCOUVER (CP) - The Canadian Olympic Committee has unanimously approved Hockey Canada's list of players for the Turin Winter Games.

Michael Chambers, the COC's president, said Thursday the decision was made to ''bring to the end'' any objections arising from the inclusion of Todd Bertuzzi of the Vancouver Canucks, Dany Heatley of the Ottawa Senators and Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes on the Olympic roster.

All three players are free to play for Canada at the Olympics.

Bertuzzi served a 17-month NHL suspension and pleaded guilty to criminal charges for his on-ice attack of Steve Moore.

Heatley pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide following a car crash that killed his friend and teammate.


Doan has been accused, but denies, making an ethnic slur.

''No one is saying it was right what the athletes did or, in Shane's case, is alleged to have done,'' Chambers said.

''But what was done, having regard to the whole circumstance of their athletic careers, is not something the committee on balance decided was something that would prevent them from being appropriate members of the  Canadian Olympic hockey team.''

The 13-member COC selection committee, which includes a coach, several athletes and various sports officials, held a 90-minute telephone conference call to review the list of 26 players Hockey Canada announced Wednesday.

The committee, through a majority vote, can prevent an athlete from representing Canada at the Games.

Chambers said the ''exceptional calling together of the selection committee'' was prompted by some media concerns raised over the three athletes participating in the Games.

The fact it took the committee so long to approve the list means there was some debate.

''They deliberated for 1½ hours so they clearly  had some discussions,'' said Chambers, who wasn't part of the meeting.

''They obviously had more discussions than a look at the list and a unanimous, immediate agreement there is nothing to discuss.''

Bertuzzi's March 8, 2004, punch from behind on Moore broke three bones in the Colorado Avalanche player's neck.  Moore's hockey career remains in doubt.

The big forward was charged, then pleaded guilty last December to assault causing bodily harm and received a conditional discharge. He was sentenced to a year's probation, which ends this week, and 80 hours of community service.

Some newspaper columnists have questioned if Bertuzzi should be on the team. An on-line poll on the CTV website had 51 per cent of the 1,076 respondents supporting Bertuzzi being on the team.

Bertuzzi said he wasn't surprised his selection was questioned.

''I probably knew something was going to happen or there would be some kind of backlash,'' he said after the Canucks practice.

''Some people have their own agendas and things they hold against me. There is nothing I can do about it. I'm excited I'm getting the opportunity to go play for my country.''

Last February Heatley pleaded guilty to second-degree vehicular homicide, driving too fast for conditions, failure to maintain a lane and speeding, for a 2003 car crash that killed Dan Snyder of the Atlanta Thrashers.

Heatley was sentenced to three years' probation and community service.

Doan found himself in trouble after Denis Coderre, a Liberal MP from Quebec, said in a letter to Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson that the Coyote captain should be taken off the team for an alleged ethnic slur.

Doan has denied slurring francophone officials in an NHL game earlier this month.

Colin Campbell, the NHL's executive vice-president and director of hockey operations, criticized Coderre for his letter.

''The NHL manages its business properly and I have discussed this `alleged' incident with Shane Doan and am fully confident there were no inappropriate comments in this incident,'' Campbell told The Canadian Press.

''Mr. Coderre is getting involved in something without the correct or any information.''

Chambers said there is no evidence to prove Doan made the comments.


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