David Poile and USA Hockey Apologize to Bobby Ryan

When the US Olympic Hockey Team was announced on Wednesday, many were surprised that Ottawa Senators forward and 2010 US Olympian Bobby Ryan was not a member of the squad.

Shortly after the announcement, Scott Burnside of ESPN released a full report on the selection process.  Burnside and Kevin Allen of USA Today were present at the US Selection Committee meetings in picking the squad.

One quote in particular, from Brian Burke, caused quite the controversy.  Burke is quoted as saying the following in a November meeting discussing Ryan.

“He is not intense. That word is not in his vocabulary,” Burke says. “It’s never going to be in his vocabulary. He can’t spell intense.”

Ryan was upset by the comments calling Burke “gutless” and saying that he felt the comments were “degrading”.

Responding to the controversy, Poile said the following on Friday,

“I apologize as much as I can,” Poile said. “As far as anything to denigrate any player, that was not what any of us signed up for. … What goes on in a dressing room should stay in a dressing room. Unfortunately, this was just a little bit too much.

“For the umpteenth time, I totally apologize to Bobby Ryan on behalf our staff, which includes Brian Burke, who was absolutely the biggest supporter of Bobby Ryan on our staff.”

While these type of comments can be common in the frank discussions that hockey executives have when discussing players and choosing teams, this type of behind the scenes, total access that the reporters were given is something that USA Hockey is likely to try and limit in the future.

“Unfortunately the comments were a little harsh,” Poile said. “The problem that we had with a communication breakdown that happened there was we thought this was similar to a ’24/7′ situation where we had editorial review on what was going to be said. It caught all of us off-guard. And again, that’s on us.”

Such caustic quotes are not good for the players involved, nor for the image of the program.


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