Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson delivered a message to the fans in a statement released by the club on Thursday, saying the organization does not agree with the decision the league made on Zdeno Chara's actions against Max Pacioretty.
I would like to thank you all for your comments and support as the Pacioretty family, and our entire organization, deal with this difficult situation. I share your frustration, disappointment and shock. I feel for Max, the team and you, our fans.
Max, on behalf of my family, fans and all who are associated with this great organization, rest assured that we are all behind you and hope for a full recovery.
The Montreal Canadiens is an institution that has played a leadership role in this League and in our community for over 100 years, and you can count on us to continue to do so in the future. The news of the NHL decision yesterday was a hard blow for both the players and fans of the Montreal Canadiens. It was one which shook the faith that we, as a community, have in this sport that we hold in such high regard.
The Montreal Canadiens organization does not agree with the decision taken yesterday by the National Hockey League. We can assure you that we have made our position clear to Commissioner Gary Bettman, and that he has agreed to make this issue a priority at the next General Manager's meeting, which will be held in Florida on March 14-16. Pierre Gauthier, our General Manager, will be present at this meeting and has already expressed his wish to carry out, clearly, our message to his 29 counterparts and to the League.
Our organization believes that the players' safety in hockey has become a major concern, and that this situation has reached a point of urgency. At risk are some of the greatest professional athletes in the world, our fan base and the health of our sport at all levels. Players' safety in hockey must become the ultimate priority and the situation must be addressed immediately. As a proud father of three hockey players, I want to help create a healthy and safe experience for them, and I certainly never want any family to go through what the Pacioretty's are experiencing at this moment.
We understand and appreciate hockey being a physical sport, but we do not accept any violent behavior that will put the players' health and safety at risk. On this specific issue, I am asking for the support of the 29 other NHL owners, to address urgently this safety issue. And I am willing to play a leadership role in coordinating this group effort.
You are the best fans in the league, and I am proud to have you behind us. Both the team and Max need your support now more than ever. A solid playoff run is just around the corner and we are counting on you to carry us deep into the spring!
GO HABS GO!
Chairman of the Board of Directors and Team Owner