« I know it will be difficult » – Jeff Gorton
Jeff Gorton said so at his first press conference with the Canadiens. He intends to learn French, but he knows it won’t happen by snapping his fingers.
The vice-president of hockey operations at CH said it was a bit like golf. For years, he has hoped to become a good golfer, something that still does not happen.
« Over the past few weeks, I haven’t had a lot of time to devote myself to studying French, » Gorton replied with a smile. We were looking for our new CEO. I intend to continue the lessons. I will also meet a teacher in person. I want to know the basics. It’s my aim. But I don’t want to make a promise. I’m 53, I’m not 13. I know it will be difficult to learn a new language at my age. However, I want to learn it and improve myself. »
When the Habs presented their 18e general manager in team history, Gorton sat on a table alongside Kent Hughes and Geoff Molson.
“Yes, it was a bit of a shock for me, admitted the man from Massachusetts. I paid attention to the questions in French and tried to see the faces of the journalists behind the masks. My oldest son of 19 phoned me after the conference. He laughed at me telling me that I was pretending to understand the portions in French since I nodded sometimes. I couldn’t keep up, but I stayed focused. I would like to learn the language. »
“I already knew Montreal. I came many times to my days with the Bruins or the Rangers. I have always loved this city and the mix of cultures. In all honesty, I had no idea Kent was so good at French. I found him confident and solid. »
In Boston and New York, Gorton managed to live fairly anonymously despite operating in two major American hockey markets. In Montreal, he knows that it will not be the same reality.
“I haven’t had the chance to eat out often since I was hired in Montreal due to health restrictions. However, I had a little taste the day after the press conference at the Bell Center for Kent. We had a Montreal-Detroit flight and then left for Vegas. At the Dorval airport, almost everyone recognized us. People wished us good luck with the CH. Even the American customs officers talked to me about hockey. When we arrived in Detroit, there was not a single person to recognize us. We became strangers again. It was a contrast. »