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Legault's Hockey Plan Is Being Trashed & It's Probably Not The Reaction He Was Expecting

The premier is under fire for prioritizing hockey while the province contends with bigger issues.

Legault's Hockey Plan Is Being Trashed & It's Probably Not The Reaction He Was Expecting

Quebec Premier François Legault wasn't looking for a negative reaction when he announced his hockey plan, which plays directly to one of the province's passions, but that's exactly what he got.

Late Thursday afternoon, Legault announced the creation of the Comité québécois sur le développement du hockey, a committee that will aim to "restore our national sport to its former glory, to instil a love of hockey in young people and to properly develop Quebec talent in a positive and safe environment," according to the premier.

But Legault is being dragged over his plan that some have called a "populist" distraction from more important issues.

Allan Walsh, a well-regarded hockey agent who represents several Quebec-born players like Jonathan Drouin and Marc-André Fleury, took to Twitter to comment that growing hockey in Quebec is "not rocket science."

"Start with developing players at the QMJHL level instead of exploiting them. There [are] a few teams that do a great job, the majority will do anything to maximize profits to the detriment of players' futures."

The committee is tasked with addressing several major issues — including athlete development, the development of women's hockey, coaching, accessibility, safety and integrity — with a final report due on March 31, 2022.

For now, though, it's mostly rhetoric. In a statement, Legault exclaimed that hockey "is part of our identity, our pride and also part of the pleasures of life."

"This is how we are going to become a breeding ground for talent again. This is how Quebec will once again become a powerhouse in hockey."

Several more people criticized Legault for announcing this plan while his administration is in the middle of an inquest into the number of deaths during the peak of the pandemic at the province's CHSLDs. Over 4,000 elderly people died in CHSLDs during the first wave of COVID-19.

"When will you have a conference to explain your catastrophic management of CHSLDs?" inquired one Twitter user.

The premier was mum on that issue during his hockey press conference.

The committee itself, which is made up entirely of white people, has also been criticized for not including any Indigenous voices.

In 2018 and 2020, several Indigenous minor hockey teams and players were reportedly subjected to racist taunts and discrimination. The incidents forced Hockey Quebec to update its code of ethics.