MONTREAL (CityNews) – Days after the controversial draft selection, and in the middle of heavy criticism from fans and women’s advocates, the Montreal Canadiens may be facing possible financial repercussions.
Sponsors like Saint-Hubert, Desjardins, La Cage, and Jean Coutu have indicated they could possibly pull their advertising over the team’s decision to draft Logan Mailloux.
Mailloux, who the Canadiens picked on July 23, was fined by a Swedish court last year after being convicted of charges related to sharing, without her consent, a photo of a woman performing a sexual act.
WATCH: Women’s groups decrying Habs draft pick
The 18-year-old Mailloux, who had asked teams not to draft him, told reporters on Saturday that sharing the photo was “stupid” and “irresponsible.”
Being drafted into the NHL is an “honour and a privilege,” he wrote in the statement, adding he didn’t feel that he has “demonstrated strong enough maturity or character to earn that privilege in the 2021 Draft.”
But some don’t think it will affect the team.
“It’s not a scandal that emerged later, so it’s possible that the net impact could be very very small and the issue for Desjardins and St. Hubert is how many people are going to adjust their insurance and chicken purchases because they support or don’t support the [team],” explained Moshe Lander, economics professor at Concordia University.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Canadiens showed a lack of judgement by drafting the 18-year-old.
Quebec’s Minister responsible for the status of women, Isabelle Charest followed suit saying the draft doesn’t align with the change she wishes to bring to sports in the province.
In a letter Wednesday afternoon, owner and president of the Montreal Canadiens, Geoff Molson, said “I understand that you expect more from us and we let you down. Logan’s actions do not reflect the values of our organization and I apologize for the pain this selection has caused.”
The organization says they have excluded the young player from their rookie and main training camps in the fall, but will be supporting him in becoming a better person. Molson is also planning on raising awareness and educating young men and women on the issue.
It remains unclear, however, whether fans will support the Habs’ decision to keep Mailloux.
This decision, which many say sends the wrong message, may have tarnished their reputation and ruined all the goodwill they had amassed during their historic playoff run.
“We don’t care about his hockey profile, he might be the best hockey player in the world, that has nothing to do with hockey,” said Jean-Sébastien Renaud, father & Habs fan. “My daughter is nine-years-old, she’s a hockey player as well. I just think they missed the boat, the Habs are the corporation that has the most visibility in almost the whole country, they have a corporate responsibility, it just wasn’t necessary to draft Mr. Mailloux.”