Buzzing The Net

Ousted Cape Breton GM says anti-Quebec resentment on social media played into his firing

Neate Sager
Buzzing The Net

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Ron Choules (right) with rookie Clark Bishop at the QMJHL draft (The Canadian Press)

Let's be clear: it's sensational, albeit funny, to claim that Pierre Roux said the Internet is responsible for why he was fired as the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles general manager. Roux did not say that exactly after being sacked on Monday. Nor did he blame it solely, or even primarily, on the fact he is Francophone and was running a team in the Maritimes.

Regardless, Roux said it once to media in Sydney, N.S., then doubled down while talking to Yanick Poisson of La Tribune. Which means it's okay to talk about it.

First, from T.J. Colello:

One disappointment Roux did have in his time with the team was his belief that the fans and the community didn't accept the fact the team was managed by "a guy from Quebec."

"That's the only thing because the Screaming Eagles is a great organization, I love the community and love the fans, but sometimes, it's easy with Facebook and Twitter to put a lot of negative comments about that and don't understand why the guy manages the team that came from Quebec," he said. "I don't have to explain the job of a GM to all the people in the community, but it was a big part of the problem I think." (Cape Breton Post)

Even though regional tensions have occasionally simmered in the QMJHL, that doesn't make the case. Far be it for a no-good Upper Canadian to know what junior hockey fans a time zone away want ... but a half-educated guess is they prefer to see hands-on management, not absentee management. In a smaller, fairly close-knit city, there might not be as much acceptance that a GM does not have to live in the city. Roux might have a small point.

However, it's a results business. Few would care if Cape Breton was winning. When a team is losing, the physical absence becomes a flashpoint. That was the case not so long ago when the Halifax Mooseheads were struggling and majority owner Bobby Smith spent much of his time away from the city, even though he's a native Nova Scotian.

Overall, though, it comes off as sour grapes. The Screaming Eagles are tied for third-last in the Q with a 2-6-1-2 record and .318 point percentage, ahead of only rebuilding Shawinigan and expansion Sherbrooke. This is the third year of a rebuilding project after 41- and 49-point seasons, so the results clearly were not coming. Sometimes is it that straighforward.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at neatesager@yahoo.ca and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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