National Chief Phil Fontaine says NHL Vice-President's comments go too far: calls for apology to Chris Simon



    OTTAWA, Dec. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief
Phil Fontaine said NHL Vice-President Colin Campbell should personally
apologize to suspended New York Islanders player Chris Simon for telling
reporters yesterday that he would be meeting with "drug and alcohol doctors"
in order to deal with his behavourial issues.
    "I agree with the NHL, and the vast majority of hockey fans, that
Mr. Simon must be punished for this unfortunate incident with a Pittsburgh
player during last Saturday's game," said National Chief Fontaine. "However,
it was extremely hurtful to Mr. Simon, and his many fans, including those in
our First Nations communities, to hear from Mr. Campbell that such behaviour
is related to drug and or alcohol abuse."
    "Chris Simon may be viewed as an enforcer or "tough guy" but he is still
a role model who spends a lot of his time in the off-season working with First
Nations youth," said the National Chief. "I have met him many times over the
years and I know that he regrets those incidents where he has been suspended
as a result of violence.
    "I spoke to Islanders coach Ted Nolan last night who informed me that
Mr. Simon has been very hurt and embarrassed by Mr. Campbell's comments, even
though an NHL spokesman did make a correction. Mr. Simon, and all of his fans,
would like to hear an apology, especially since it smacks of stereotyping,"
added the National Chief. "In the meantime, Mr. Simon will have plenty of time
to reflect upon the circumstances that have led to his 30-game suspension.
    "I also agree with Mr. Nolan that this is seems to be a harsh suspension
compared with much more serious incidents that have resulted in serious
injuries. In the meantime, I wish Mr. Simon well and look forward to his
return to the NHL."




For further information:

For further information: Joan McEwen, AFN Communications, Director,
(613) 241-6789 ext. 242, cell: (613) 324-3329, jmcewen@afn.ca; Josee
Bellemare, Bilingual Communications Officer, (613) 241-6789 ext. 336, cell:
(613) 327-6331, jbellemare@afn.ca


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