In an attempt to reach the level of diversity that has surged in recent years among professional U.S. sports leagues, the NHL has created a universal language for its players: Frenchskian.
The new tongue is a combination of French, Russian, and various languages from “the rest of those little Eastern European countries,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
“English has died with the presence of so many non-American players in the league,” said Bettman. “We like to refer to Frenchskian as the new ‘Vernacular of the Ice.’”
Prior to the regular season, players on each team were given Frenchskian textbooks and audio CDs. They will be tested on their studies in mid-November, according to the NHL.
If players don’t pass the examination, they’ll be required to re-test before the All-Star break. Anyone who fails a second time could be benched or fined, NHL officials said.
Chicago Blackhawks right wing Martin Lapointe, a native of Ville Saint-Pierre, Quebec, discussed the new language over dinner with fellow wingmen Jaromir Jagr, and Nikolai Zherdev, of the New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets, respectively.
Jagr, a Czechoslovakia native, and the Ukraine-born Zherdev, both said Frenchskian would be helpful in that it would allow them to trash-talk and distract defenders and goalies more.
But Lapointe criticized the idea of Frenchskian, calling it “another dumb thing from the front office.”