Vancouver has responded to an Irish Times column in which Lee Chin — a hurler and Gaelic football player — expressed shock about the club’s alleged drinking culture, and slump-busting methodology.
“Our team recently accepted a request from Lee Chin and a TV show for access to an individual on-ice skills session and a game with Canucks alumni. We were disappointed to learn of the comments made in an Irish Times article about his experience,” Canucks president Trevor Linden said in a statement, per Yahoo. “The assumptions made by Lee Chin on hockey culture and reported by the Irish Times are baseless and categorically false.
“They do not reflect our players, their conduct or the culture of our game in any way.”
Update: The Daily Hive reports that Chin released a statement apologizing for the interview. Here’s a portion of his response
“On Thursday 09 March, Chin participated in an interview that lasted a total of 25 minutes, during which he discussed at length the warm welcome he received from the Vancouver Canucks, the skill and grace of the players he met, the professional attitude and set up of the team and how he was in awe of their athleticism,” the statement reads.
“Lee did however as part of that interview speak about the players’ social lives. He accepts that what he said is not a true reflection of the culture of the Vancouver Canucks or its players and does not reflect what he witnessed during his time with the team.”
Chin’s statement noted that he was disappointed that the comments became “the focus of media commentary” and that he did not want to “call into question the professionalism of the Vancouver Canucks.”
Chin swapped sports with former Canucks goalie Alex Auld for a Irish broadcast (RTE) program called The Toughest Trade. In it, Chin learned how to play hockey, and spent time with various members of the organization. His presence was profiled on Hockey Night in Canada.
In the Times article, Chin said he “couldn’t believe” the drinking culture in Vancouver, explaining that players were “lowering pints the day before a game.”
Chin also referenced what he says the club called a ‘change up.’
“When a player is not on form, not scoring. The manager will call a ‘change up’, and basically that player has to go out and ruin himself for the night, then come back the next day, with the attitude of you just don’t care.
“So they send him out, drink 20 pints, go off with a couple of women, whatever he wants. And come back the next day. That’s the way they live. It’s the culture, what they believe in, letting off steam like that. I don’t know if they look at the science behind it.”
For an opposing view, here’s Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy, who travels with the Canucks: