Ahead of tonight's premiere of the second episode of this season's edition of 'The Toughest Trade', Lee Chin participated in media interviews on Thursday.
As part of the documentary Chin spent a week training with NHL side Vancouver Canucks.
During Thursday's interview, Chin spoke about the 'drinking culture' which he saw during his time with the franchise. This made headlines not only in Ireland but also in Canada.
In comparison to the drinking bans enforced with many inter-county teams, Chin was surprised to see some players having a pint on the day before a game. He also spoke about a practice called a 'change up'.
The drinking culture they have, I couldn’t believe it. They were lowering pints the day before a game. And that was sitting at lunch.
It was after we played a game on a Sunday, and there was a lunch with the alumni team on the Monday. I was invited, with Erik Gudbranson, and one of his team mates beside him. I had a glass a water. Erik was injured, but I asked his team mate if he was playing tomorrow and he said ‘’yeah, what’s the big deal?’
And managers and coaches and everyone sitting around. And I was thinking I wouldn’t do this sitting in front of Davy. I wouldn’t do it if I was at home on my own, never mind in front of Davy. But they just believe in it.
And they have this thing 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.
Canadian website The Daily Hive, as they put it, 'called BS' on Chin's quotes. In a statement given to them, Canucks president of hockey operations Trevor Linden denied Chin's claims.
Our team recently accepted a request for 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; 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.
The Daily Hive was also issued a statement from a PR company acting on behalf of the Wexford hurler.
In it, Chin accepts that his comments given to the Irish media did not reflect the culture he witnessed during his time with the Canucks.
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.
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.
Lee is very disappointed that these comments have been the focus of media commentary. At no time did Lee seek to call into question the professionalism of the Vancouver Canucks, its staff, management and players which he found to be exemplary.
Lee thoroughly enjoyed his time with the team in Vancouver and found it to be an exceptionally professional environment. Lee believes that the time spent with the Vancouver Canucks will have a hugely positive impact on his future sporting career.
According to Vancouver newspaper The Province, Chin spent very little time with the actual Canucks team. Most of it was with their 'Alumni Team', which consists of former players. As you can imagine, there was plenty of 'pizzas and beer' involved during their get-togethers, along with some old stories which perhaps skewed the 24-year-old's view of hockey culture.
This org that once took chocolate off the plane and didn't let players eat pizza ffs. Doubt management would be on board for a change up.
— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) March 9, 2017
Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE