MONTREAL — It wouldn't be a world junior championship without a little international controversy.
The latest issue stems from the post-game press conference after Canada's 4-1 victory over Finland on Monday night. Prior to a question and answer period with reporters, it is customary for each coach to give a brief opening statement with general thoughts on their team's play.
Finnish head coach Hannu Jortikka went first and spoke English - which was passable given that it's not his first language. He was followed by Canadian head coach Benoit Groulx, who chose to make his opening remarks in French. There was no English translation provided.
This apparently did not sit well with Jortikka, since the International Ice Hockey Federation requires either English to be spoken or translators to be present during press conferences if the coach can not speak English.
From the IIHF guidelines: "Translation to English will be provided as mandatory and also translation to other languages will be provided depending on interest level and interpretation availability."
So Jortikka has a point, though none of the other coaches thus far have complained about Groulx's use of French in the opening remarks.
Wasn’t just me who thought Groulx’s behavior was arrogant. Hannu Jortikka was too. ”I should have spoke Finnish."
— Juha Hiitelä (@jhiitela) December 30, 2014
Jortikka, visibly peeved after the loss, answered a few questions in English for Canadian media before leaving and voicing his displeasure to Finnish reporters about Groulx's language choice, saying "I should have spoke Finnish."
To date, Groulx has done all of his opening statements in French, sans translation, and has then answered questions in both of Canada's official languages - depending on whether the question is asked in English or in French.
Canada's next game is on Dec. 31st against the United States.