Roger writing the LAWmag
Jan 2009

Patrick Roy's Legal Troubles Revisited

Everybody in Quebec watches Bye-Bye on New Year's Eve. Parties go mute during the show except for ther clinking of glasses, until the final countdown and then all Hell breaks loose.

Bye-Bye is known for cutting satire, and no sacred cows.

But the 2008 show came close to the line.

For most Quebecers, the straw that broke the camel's back was a reference to child sexual abuse victim, former pop star Natalie Simard. But the show also poked fun, in a sketch at Patrick Roy, ex=NHL goaltender, lampooning him and his sons in regards to their well-documented past troubles with anger management and violence.

Roy Bye-Bye 2008In the skit, an actor playing Patrick Roy, breaks down the front door wearing a Montreal Canadiens uniform, #33.

Seconds later, his son Jonathan enters breaking down another door and wearing goalie pads and a Quebec Remparts uniform. He lunges on his mother and is seen punching her while he holds her down with his knee (see image), while the actor playing Patrick stands by, arms crossed, with a satisfied look on his face.

After the beating, the actress gets up sporting a black eye.

In another skit, the actor playing Patrick Roy is on the phone when his wife gently interrupts and #33 throws a temper tantrum, breaking the television set with his hockey stick.

The comedy writers had done their homework.

Roy was a feisty hockey goalie, not shy to drop his heavy goalie gloves and chase some unwilling opponent goalie. In two separate but memorable NHL tilts, he took on Detroit's Chris Osgood and Mike Vernon.

On October 22, 2000, a week after he had become the NHL all-time win leader for goal-tenders, Roy, then playing in Colorado for the Avalanche, apparently lost his temper at home and ripped two doors off by the hinges. His wife Michelle Piuze called 911 at 2:23 AM and then inexplicably hung up. But the police quickly arrived, having traced the call to the Roy residence at the 5300 block of South Race Court, Littleton, just south of Denver.

Roy was arrested, handcuffed and taken to Arapahoe County Jail where he was held for six hours. He was booked on a charge of criminal mischief and released on $750 bail. He faced deportation if he was convicted.

The sports millionaire showed up at his first appearance in Denver on November 7 hand-in-hand with his wife. According to CBC News:

"The pair walked into the courtroom hands clasped. Afterwards, they kissed before leaving the courthouse in separate cars."

With an uncooperative victim, the charges were dismissed in January 2001. To make sure of it, Roy had hired high-profile Colorado defence attorney Pamela Mackey (she also successfully defended Kobe Bryant of NBA fame from sexual assault charges in 2004). Mackey had successfully argued that a conviction could not stand when the accused damaged his own property.

In 2005, with his playing days behind him (he retired in 2003), Patrick Roy and his wife divorced in Quebec.

Jonathan Roy, his son, was a junior goaltender playing on a team coached by his famous father. Jonathan had been involved in a high-profile junior hockey fight on March 22, 2008 when he had skated the length of the ice to pummel the other goalie. After the brawl, Jonathan Roy raised his middle fingers to the crowd (see image below).

In September 2009, the Quebec Crown decided to press assault charges against Jonathan Roy for the first incident.

In September 2008, Roy's other son Frederick, also while playing on a team coached by his father, blind-sided an opponent with a cross-check to the face, and received a 15-game suspension.

The usually sleepy Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) received over 250 complaints over the Bye-Bye show, and a 2,000 signature petition.Jonathan RoyThe Roy family had an unfortunate reputation for temper tantrums and violence. In the circumstances, CBC responded to the complaints about Bye-Bye 2008 with an apology but added:

"Airing a humorous, satire oriented program open to many levels of interpretation is always risky business. The humour in the 2008 edition of the show was intended to condemn evils like racism, intolerance and violence through the use of irony. We acknowledge that some of the show’s twenty-odd skits and tributes to 2008 shocked or offended certain viewers. But those skits were intended simply to caricature – and in some cases even ridicule – a number of celebrities who were in the news that year. We ... fully stand by the intent behind their use."

Even some of the Radio-Canada (CBC) actors had quickly apologized after the show first aired and facing a public backlash.

The CRTC condemned the show but not the Roy skit:

"With respect to the depiction of violence in the comedy sketch about the Patrick Roy family, the Commission considers that the violence depicted was obviously simulated and comically exaggerated; the primary focus of the comedy sketch was violence in general, not violence against women; and, although the sketch contained a comedic, exaggerated depiction of a violent act against one female character, the perpetrators of the violence were not depicted as laudable characters. As a result, the sketch did not, in fact, sanction, promote, or glamorize violence against women. Furthermore, ... the Commission ... is only prepared to conclude that the limits to freedom of expression have been exceeded in cases of the most flagrant excess; where it is not obvious that regulatory requirements have been breached, the Commission will rule in favour of freedom of expression."

No heavy sanction was meted out to the CBC.

For the most part, Patrick Roy has to take these punches without retaliating. In spite of the financial advantages they have had, or because of it, the Roy men's record speaks for itself.

The sequel: a few weeks after Bye-Bye 2008, according to CBC News:

"... (Jonathan) Roy allegedly smashed a toilet and mangled a chair in a dressing room in Saint John, N.B., after letting in two goals."

Like his father, Jonathan Roy is now retired fom hockey and wants to be a pop singer. His first album: What I've Become.

In his very first NHL game as a coach on October 2, 2013, Patrick Roy had a fit of anger at the end of the game and began to bang on the windowed partition between his team bench and that of the other team. It was not just Neanderthal (or Slap Shot!-ish) but no example for other coaches watching the game and who might reasonably seek to emulate this legend of hockey in his choices of infantile if not irresponsible responses.



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