Jennifer Thomas is a bestselling author, psychologist, speaker, consultant & apology critic

An Olympic Apology From The Canadian Hockey Team: 1 (out of 5) Stars


The alleged transgression: The Canadian women’s hockey team celebrate their 2-0 gold medal Thursday night win over the U.S.A. by drinking beer and champagne and smoking cigars on the ice rink. At least one member apparently tried to commandeer a Zamboni. One of the players involved was 18.

The apology: “The members of Team Canada apologize if their on-ice celebrations, after fans had left the building, have offended anyone. In the excitement of the moment, the celebration left the confines of our dressing room and shouldn’t have. The team regrets that its gold medal celebration may have caused the IOC or COC any embarrassment. Our players and team vow to uphold the values of the Olympics moving forward and view this situation as a learning experience.”(italics mine).

“We were hoping that celebration would stay private,” forward Caroline Ouellette said. “We’re very sorry if we may have offended some Canadians, but for some of our girls, it’s the last time they’ll ever skate at the Olympics. It’s a tradition for our team. To go back on that ice and kiss it and take a picture is something special.” (italics mine).

My analysis:  The words “if”, “may”, and “but” would make any reader of this apology cringe.  These words remove all credit for those apology languages.  If you’re going to qualify your statements, you might as well save your breath.  Ms. Ouellette raised this mistake to its highest level by combining “if” and “may have” in a single phrase.

I gave them a single star for our 4th language of apology.  They showed what we call “genuine repentance” with this phrase:  “Our players and team vow to uphold the values of the Olympics moving forward and view this situation as a learning experience.”  Looking forward, they plan to examine their actions- which points to the possibility of CHANGE.

To the team:  Congratulations on your hard work and your victory.  Call us for apology advice next time.

Check out this article out of San Francisco with an apology rating for the Canadian Hockey Partying Team.  It’s pretty funny but I don’t understand their inverse scale.  What do you think about this apology?

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