Canadiens’ defenseman P.K. Subban is in the midst of a siege from a Quebec French language group over the pronunciation of his initials.
The preservation and promotion of the French language is taken seriously in Quebec. So much so that there's an actual branch of the government (Office québécois de la langue française, or the Quebec Board of the French Language) that's tasked with ensuring strict guidelines are met by businesses across Quebec.
The diligence of the language police has led to some curious battles over the years—the dispute over the names of several pasta dishes at a Montreal Italian restaurant was a classic—but now they've picked a fight they might not win with a hockey superstar.
According to the Canadian Press, Montreal's La Presse has obtained an official complaint filed by one language group saying it didn’t like the English pronunciation of the initials in P.K. Subban's first name.
The group suggests broadcasters using Subban's name should follow the French pronunciation of the letters: Pay-Kah.
Subban, naturally, took it in good humor.
“Since we’re changing the pronunciation of my name, just start calling me Denzel,” he said. “Can we throw that one in there too?”
But if French broadcasters decide to go along with the group's request, he's fine with that as well.
"It sounds kind of sexy actually,” Subban said. “I kind of like it.
“So, I’d say “c’est tres bien, but my name is P.K.," he said. “But if they want to call me Pee-Kee or Pay-Kah, it’s OK.”