MYTISCHI, Russia -- Canada's coach defended Shane Doan after his appointment as captain at the hockey world championships became an issue in the nation's parliament.
Canada's opposition parties questioned Doan's captaincy because of allegations he made ethnic slurs toward French-speaking officials during an NHL game between his Phoenix Coyotes and the Montreal Canadiens in 2005.
The NHL investigated and found no evidence Doan used any ethnic slurs.
"I don't understand why this keeps happening," Doan said after practice Tuesday.
NDP Leader Jack Layton suggested that Doan's captaincy would "cast a shadow on [Canada's] participation on the international stage." Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe said Doan's appointment was disrespectful to French Canadians.
"Shane Doan has answered the call whenever Canada has asked," Canada head coach Andy Murray said. "He's leaving four kids to come over here. He's done enough that he probably had the right to say no, and he has never said no to Canada. He's a real Canadian."
Doan was part of the Canadian team that won gold at the 2003 and 2004 world championships.
"Anybody that knows Shane will tell you that it's a very hard thing for any of us to believe that he said something like that," forward Mike Cammalleri said. "He's pretty much the perfect leader when you think of a guy you want for Team Canada."
Doan denies ever making a slur.
"I never swear," he said. "I stand on my word. I did not say a single thing. I did not say anything remotely close to what is being said.
"That's the most frustrating thing. You can talk to my teammates. You can talk to anybody that knows me. I wouldn't have said it. Some of my best friends are French Canadians," he said.
Doan is suing former sports minister Denis Coderre, saying he falsely accused Doan of making the slur to referee Stephane Auger. Doan also wants Coderre to make a public retraction.
"I'd worked for a long time and then one guy thought he might have heard something and now I've had to defend myself," Doan said. "And then other people try to use it for personal gain and those are the leaders of our country."
Doan scored the winning goal in Canada's 4-2 victory over Norway on Monday.
"It hurts. As a Canadian it does," Doan said. "I take huge pride in playing for my country. I take huge pride in representing everybody and for them to question me being the captain is incredibly disappointing to me.
"I'd rather be called the worst hockey [player] in the world and that I didn't deserve to be on the team than have someone question the person that I am," he said.
Canada is 2-0 in the tournament but faces its first big test Wednesday against Slovakia.