by John Hawkins | April 2, 2003 7:24 pm
When Did France Move Up North Of The US?: Here’s how our neighbors to the North treated a Peewee league hockey team that went to a tournament in Canda. Remember as you read this, we’re talking about 11 & 12 year olds here…
“MONTREAL — A peewee hockey tournament in Montreal became a trip into hostile territory for a busload of Americans who say they encountered such fierce anti-Americanism that they will think twice before returning.
During a four-day visit, boys travelling with their Massachusetts hockey team witnessed the burning of the Stars and Stripes and the booing of the U.S. national anthem. When travelling in their bus emblazoned with a red-white-and-blue “Coach USA” logo, they saw people on the street who extended their middle fingers or made other angry gestures.
On the ice, the Canadian players told their visiting counterparts that “the U.S. sucks” and dispensed other anti-American insults, the Americans said.
“We were very offended by the whole thing,” said Mr. Carpenter, who accompanied two sons on the trip.
“I understand the opposition to the war. But we were made to feel unwelcome just about anywhere we went.
“Montreal is a 51/2-hour drive for us. It’s not like we were travelling to Syria or France or Germany,” he said. “As Americans, we felt in the past that Canada was our closest ally and friend. No one told us we were heading into unfriendly territory.”
The trip soured soon after the Americans rolled into Montreal on March 20.
Their bus entered downtown Montreal just as hundreds of college and university students were marching through the streets in an antiwar demonstration. Police cruisers spotted the U.S. bus and escorted it to its hotel on Sherbrooke Street as a safety precaution. A police officer urged the visitors to remain in the bus until the protest passed.
The children watched as several demonstrators made obscene gestures toward the bus. A U.S. flag was dragged through the street.
“We felt horrible,” Mr. Nadeau said. “How would you feel if the Canadian flag was dragged down the streets in the U.S.A.? This is a country that’s supposed to be our ally.”
That night, about a dozen families went to the Montreal Canadiens-New York Islanders game at the Montreal Bell Centre, a much-anticipated visit planned months in advance. In a gesture later condemned, the U.S. national anthem was widely booed by the crowd, leaving the visiting American children perplexed.
“The kids were just questioning, ‘Why are they doing this?’ ” said David Cruise, who was there with his 12-year-old son. “It’s hard for them to realize we weren’t in America any more; we were in a different country.
“I said, ‘They’re booing our national anthem because they don’t like us.’ “
Mr. Cruise felt so uncomfortable that he left with his son after the first period. “Whether you’re for or against the war, we have guys over there dying,” Mr. Cruise said. “The next time, we’ll stay in the States. I’m not going back there again.”
The visitors say anti-American comments continued when the young players faced off against the Beverly Bandits, a team from Beverly, Ont. U.S. players say the Canadians hurled insults during face-offs and at other times.
“They told us we sucked, gave us the finger and said ‘Down with the U.S.A.’ or ‘The U.S.A. sucks,” Mr. Nadeau said. At one point, a Canadian player made a disparaging remark about the United States “and the referee turned around and said, ‘I agree with you.’ “What stunned us was that the referee, who is supposed to be unbiased, is agreeing with the boys on the ice.”
…Mr. Carpenter came across a knot of demonstrators surrounding a protester who, with an Iraqi flag and a U.S. flag, had climbed atop a traffic light.
The crowd cheered when the man waved the Iraqi flag, and booed the U.S. flag, Mr. Carpenter said. Then the protester doused the U.S. flag in kerosene.
“It went up in a puff of smoke and flames, and the crowd went wild. They were all cheering,” said Mr. Carpenter, whose 24-year-old son, a U.S. Marine, was sent to retrieve bodies of Americans killed in the 2001 terrorist bombing of USS Cole in Yemen.
…As they crossed the border into the United States, cheers went up in the bus. “We were very, very happy to get back home,” Mr. Nadeau said.”
All I can say is that you Canadians are very lucky that those 12 year olds didn’t get violent because with the state of Canada’s military, they may have been able to capture most of Montreal before you could have beaten them back. No, no, I’m just kidding…actually it’s great to have Canada next door, it’s just like living near France or Belgium.
Hat Tip to Damian Penny for finding this one. He’s the 4th coolest Canadian on the planet behind Mark Steyn, Terrence, & Phillip.
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