P.K. Subban trade and the fracture with Les Canadiens »

Bill Sundhu  July 2, 2016 at 3:26 pm


July 2, 2016

Mr. Geoff Molson,President & CEO – Club de Hockey Canadiens

Dear Mr. Molson:

P.K Subban trade and the fracture with Les Canadiens

After 49 years as a devoted and passionate fan (religiously) of the Montreal Canadiens, I write to advise that I am disassociating myself from my beloved “Les Canadiens”. I am broken-hearted by the decision to trade P.K. Subban. It is an egregious and narrow-minded decision.

My love and devotion for the Montreal Canadiens is deep and personal. I grew up in a small town in central British Columbia (Williams Lake). My parents were immigrants from India and I discovered Jean Beliveau at 9 years of age. He and Bobby Rousseau were my first favourite players. My father was severely disabled when I was 10 years old, we experienced many hardships – but, through it all I found excitement, wonder and joy, and hope through my devotion to the Canadiens. I read every book about Les Canadiens: Georges Vezina, Howie Morenz, Maurice Richard, Guy Lafleur, Larry Robinson were among the heroes of my childhood and youth. I could recite every statistic, draft pick and prospect. My favourite Habs team was the 1971 edition, the incredible way they won the Stanley Cup (rookie Dryden in goal, Beliveau’s final season, Mahovlich’s 14 goals, and Henri Richard’s tying and gaming winning goals in game 7 in Chicago). I used to pray for the team, and even cry with bad defeats. Those were the beliefs and dreams of a young boy.

Then came youth and adulthood. Through it all, no matter where I found myself in the world, I managed to find a radio, newspaper or internet connection – staying up all night to catch a game, news of the draft, or of UFA signings.   I became a father and among my son’s first words were “Saku”. My family are huge fans, immersed in the Montreal Canadiens. We speak French. We have the jersey’s, action figures, go to watch and cheer our Habs in visiting arena’s, belong to the fan club, buy the books (Yes, we also read Roch Carrier’s books every night to our kids) and we subscribe to the French hockey broadcasts.

The Montreal Canadiens were not just any traditional hockey team. They represented my vision of my country – French and English working and winning together, grace, fire-wagon hockey, progressive, worldly, classy.

P.K. Subban is much more than a dynamic, highly talented, elite hockey player. He grew up a Habs fan, realized his dream to play for the team he loved, he embraced the tradition and legendary history, he loved the fans and they loved him. He knew and respected what the uniform and team meant, to millions around the world.

Subban represented what I wanted to see as the captain of the Montreal Canadiens. He represents team progress, the new Canada. He is “urban, the son of immigrant parents and black – all demographic categories underrepresented in the world of hockey.”[1] He was transcendent – articulate, passionate, artistic in play, connected to the legendary players and tradition of the bleu, blanc et rouge, the soul of the team – a torch-bearer.

PK is refreshing and authentic in an era of clichéd, boring, millionaire athletes. The traditionalists, “old stock” Canadians, and old-boys network of hockey do not like difference and they engaged in their propaganda and prejudices. You had a unique and remarkable young man, the kind of personality and symbol the game needs to grow and for your legendary franchise to yet again be at the forefront, a leader for the game of hockey and the face of the Montreal Canadiens. This week he was sent away in a “hockey trade”?  What nonsense. Nor, is this akin to the Chelios or Roy trade. Nashville got the better player, and you lost much more than a hockey player.

This feels different; it is not the same for me anymore. The light burns much less brightly; it is a fracture. I am sad, it feels like I have lost a part of myself, something I love and believed in has become something else and I don’t like it. You have become like the rest, just a business, not a symbol or a something we can believe in. You let your GM and coach run a remarkable young man, great hockey player and symbol out of town.

It is over for me with Les Canadiens. Adieu.

Yours sincerely,

Bill Sundhu.


[1] Jonathon Montpetit, CBC News, “P.K. Subban, Ron Maclean and hockey’s culture wars”, Jul 01, 2016.

Official website of P.K. Subban:

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Bill Sundhu

Bill Sundhu is a Canadian lawyer and former judge with more than 35 years of experience in the courts of justice.

His current practice includes trial and appellate advocacy in criminal justice, human rights and civil liberties. Bill has broad legal experience that includes criminal justice, family law, child and youth law, indigenous rights, police misconduct and wrongful deaths, non-discrimination, access to justice, law reform and legislation, professional legal responsibility, and judicial independence and administration.

He is a regular speaker, lecturer and media commentator on human rights, justice, diversity, equality and international legal issues.   He has extensive knowledge of the Canadian justice system and international human rights law, with particular interest in international criminal law.

Bill has three university degrees, including a Masters degree in International Human Rights Law from Oxford University. He practices in Canadian and International Law.

His work is recognized by appointment to the List of Counsel for the International Criminal Court in the Hague (war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity) and selection to a panel of international experts to train judges in Tunisia, in 2013-14 in human rights and administration of justice. He has served an extensive term as an Executive Member of the Canadian Bar Association National Criminal Law Subsection.

Bill is a founding member of the BC Association of Multicultural Societies and is an advocate for equality and diversity. He and his family have made Kamloops, British Columbia, their home for the past 24 years.

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