When she was interviewed after being announced as the Montreal Canadiens’ new VP of Communications, Chantal Machabée touched on a very sensitive topic for both the media and fans alike when she promised “more transparency”. For years now, people have been wanting for the organisation “to be more transparent”, whatever that means. Because you know, everyone has a different definition of transparency.
What is transparency?
From reading on Twitter, some people need to learn the difference between transparency and nakedness! Contrary to popular belief, transparency does not show everything there is to see. It will always leave some for the imagination. The key here, from what Chantal made allusion to, is that perhaps previous management drew that line too tight and she feels like people deserve to know a bit more. But what she means exactly, in details, where the new line will be drawn, is for her and the team to decide on.
Be very careful in your expectations when it comes to transparency. Chantal can have all of the good will that she wants, she has employers to respond to. She has a VP of Hockey Operations and General Manager who will put a muzzle on her if she says too much. She has players who will give her guidelines of what they want her to share or not about them. And she will have to oblige.
Here are a few things that you are never going have access to, nor are you entitled to any of it:
- Players’ medical records, including but not limited to the details for those entering the Players’ Assistance Program. Teams are not allowed to give medical details without the consent of the player.
- Players or management’s personal life’s details. Same as the medical record. This is protected by the Privacy Act of Canada. You are protected by it. So are they.
- Trade rumours, or which players are on the trade market.
- Details of contract negotiations. And that’s a good thing for both parties involved.
- Anything detrimental to the organisation, or risking making the Canadiens look bad.
If, to you, this falls in your definition of transparency, be prepared to be disappointed. The type of transparency you can expect, in my humble opinion, is like the letter Gorton sent to the New York Rangers’ fans about their rebuild. You might see more stuff like that, things that are obvious to those who understand hockey, but some people need it spelled out to them.
Relationship with media
In his last press conference announcing the firing of Marc Bergevin and the hiring of Jeff Gorton, Geoff Molson promised to re-establish the relationship with the media. Some likely had to do with transparency but most had to do with the limitations that have been imposed on them. Let’s face it, what I consider to be one of Bergevin’s biggest qualities was perceived by the media as a flaw. He wasn’t afraid of putting members of the media on the spot in front of their peers, particularly those trying to trap him. That obviously didn’t sit well with them as they were being exposed immensely.
So Chantal Machabée will have some free reign when it comes to re-establishing the relationship with the media and there is no one better to do that. She is well loved and well respected by them. She will also have her own ideas about transparency and that’s a good thing. But if you’re expecting for the organisation to tell you the inner-functions of the club, be prepared to be greatly disappointed.