Retired NHL forward Gary Roberts apologized for calling Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis a moron after coming to the defence of Buffalo Sabres forward Cody Hodgson.
“I absolutely apologize for using that word. I should not have used that word,” Roberts told HOCKEY CENTRAL at Noon on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Tuesday.
“Emotion was part of my game (when I played) and sometimes I always didn’t make the right choice, and you can see I’m still not making the right choices in maybe that word selection.”
There had been reports questioning Hodgson’s attitude along with rumours that his camp asked for a trade out of Vancouver. During the Canucks’ season-ending press conference last week Gillis explained he had no regrets dealing Hodgson to the Sabres on Trade Deadline Day in February.
“I spent more time on Cody’s issues than every other player combined on our team the last three years,” Gillis said.
Roberts, who helps train Hodgson in the off-season, felt he needed to vouch for the 21-year-old.
“I felt the time that I’ve spent with Cody Hodgson these last three years, to see the type of person he is and the commitment he’s made to getting healthy and being the player that everybody expected him to be, I really felt strongly to make a stand for that young man the other day,” Roberts said.
“I didn’t mean to cause anybody any grief other than the fact I didn’t even refer to that word to be honest with you. It was kind of taken (out of context). ‘I’d like to be the guy to say that, but really that’s not doing anybody any good,’ is how I phrased it.
The exact quote from the BuffaloNews.com report was: “For me, I’d like to be the guy that looks at Mike Gillis and says, ‘You’re a moron.’”
“It came out differently, so I apologize for that word, it should not have been used,” Roberts added. “I think people need to recognize the kind of person Cody Hodgson is and he’s absolutely the furthest thing in the world than how he is perceived right now.”
The 41-year-old currently runs the Gary Roberts High Performance Centre in North York, Ont., where he trains players like Hodgson, Steven Stamkos and Jeff Skinner in addition to groups of youth hockey players from the Greater Toronto Area.