The Hammer finally fell on Don Cherry -- the long-time legend of must watch TV in Canada with his "Coaches Corner" segment that would be shown between the first and second periods on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday nights. While there were whispers that Cherry was a short-timer as he had continued to push the envelope, Rogers Sportsnet had seen and heard enough this past weekend. Cherry was upset that people who are immigrating to Canada were not showing enough support for Canadian War Veterans during Remembrance week in Canada. When he called the immigrants “you people,” it was game set and match for the 85-year-old former coach and award-winning broadcaster.
To call Cherry unfiltered would be an understatement. He was pro Canada and United States in that order. The rest of the world would always be third class citizens when it came to hockey, and virtually anything else. He was the first to question the influx of European players in the NHL all the way back to the 80’s. He went as far to question their heart and dedication. He would take a fourth line raw boned western Canadian kid over a “so called elite world class” European player any day of the week and would give them the eighth day of the calendar if it were allowed. He loved a good fight and was one of the first to publicly pose the question “Did you ever see anyone get up to go get a beer or a hot dog when a fight broke out at a hockey game?”
To call Don Chery a beauty would be an understatement. A true hockey lifer and lover of his country, Cherry would top any list if you decided to put one together. Physical players in the NHL loved him. Finesse players would hope he wouldn’t go too far in his eight minutes on Saturday Night. Non-North Americans in the NHL would change the channel after the first period. He is as colorful as the suit he would wear. His passion for the game would be hard to match, and yet he went one sentence too far and unfortunately no one could have his back as he had crossed the line.
Immigration is always a tricky subject as those who call out those who move to another country for being “you people” have short memories as while they have been born in the US or in this case Canada, their parents, grand parents or great grand parents found their way here. For those who come from elsewhere and want to start a new life, it may become incumbent for authorities for those seeking a new home to be better informed on the things and people who have helped make the US and Canada the country people seek to be part of.
Don Cherry refused to apologize for his actions, and it cost him. His partner Ron McLean has apologized to everyone in Canada and parts of Minnesota, Michigan and other bordering states. He gets to come back next Saturday. As for Cherry, who knows what will be next, but one thing is for sure -- whether you liked him or hated him for his views on everything including hockey, no one never got up to go get a beer or a coffee until "Coaches Corner" had aired. Some people will miss him. Some people won't, but no one will ever forget him.