Hockey icon Cherry fired for immigrant feedback

Don Cherry, an iconic Canadian hockey commentator, has been fired by Sportsnet for his on-air remarks on Saturday that alleged that the nation’s immigrants do not correctly honor fallen troopers.

Cherry, 85, used his “Coach’s Nook” section on “Hockey Evening In Canada” to criticize people who did not put on poppy pins main up the nation’s Remembrance Day. The pins are offered by veterans teams and are worn to symbolically honor those that served.


“I stay in Mississauga [Ontario]. Only a few folks put on the poppy. Downtown Toronto, overlook it. No one wears the poppy. … Now you go to the small cities. You folks … that come right here, no matter it’s — you like our lifestyle. You’re keen on our milk and honey. No less than you’ll be able to pay a pair bucks for a poppy or one thing like that. These guys paid to your lifestyle that you just get pleasure from in Canada. These guys paid the most important value for that,” Cherry stated.

Don Cherry’s “Coach’s Nook” has been a staple of Canadian hockey viewing for years. Jim McIsaac/Getty Photographs


After speedy backlash on social media Sunday, nearly all of media response Monday morning known as for Cherry’s elimination. By the afternoon, phrase unfold that he had been fired.

“Sports activities brings folks collectively. It unites us, not divides us. Following additional discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday evening’s broadcast, it has been determined it’s the proper factor for him to right away step down. Throughout the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that don’t characterize our values or what we stand for,” Sportsnet president Bart Yabsley stated in an announcement on Monday. “Don is synonymous with hockey and has performed an integral function in rising the sport over the previous 40 years. We want to thank Don for his contributions to hockey and sports activities broadcasting in Canada.”

Yabsley had already apologized for Cherry’s feedback in an announcement Sunday, writing that “Don’s discriminatory feedback are offensive and they don’t characterize our values and what we stand for as a community. We’ve spoken with Don in regards to the severity of this challenge and we sincerely apologize for these divisive remarks.”

Each the Nationwide Hockey League and Hockey Canada distanced themselves from the feedback in separate public statements. Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie known as Cherry’s remarks “despicable” on Twitter. “We’re pleased with various cultural heritage and we’ll at all times get up for it. New immigrants enrich our nation for the higher. We’re all Canadians and put on our poppies proudly,” she stated.

Cherry’s longtime co-host Ron MacLean, who gave a “thumbs-up” to Cherry’s feedback throughout that section, provided apologies on social media and on the air throughout Sunday’s Sportsnet NHL protection: “Don Cherry made remarks which had been hurtful, discriminatory, which had been flat out fallacious. We at Sportsnet have apologized. We all know range is the power of the nation. I owe you an apology, too. I sat there, I didn’t catch it, I didn’t reply.”

When contacted by the Toronto Solar, Cherry refused to apologize. “I’ve had my say,” he informed the paper on Sunday.

It was one controversy too many for Cherry. The previous coach of the Boston Bruins and Colorado Rockies was employed in 1981 as a commentator for CBC’s “Hockey Evening In Canada.” His loud fits and louder takes made him probably the most well-known member of the Canadian hockey media for many years, as “Coach’s Nook” grew to become appointment viewing on Saturday nights throughout the nation. His enchantment spilled over to america, the place he appeared on all the pieces from nationwide hockey protection to beer commercials.

He extolled the virtues of combating in hockey for many years, and into the present period of concussion consciousness. He incessantly took warmth for his derogatory views of European-born gamers. In 2013, Cherry drew ire from viewers for saying, “I do not consider ladies ought to be within the male dressing room,” in reference to feminine reporters.

More and more, Cherry would use his movie star for political functions, similar to talking on behalf of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford at his inauguration and calling those that consider in local weather change “cuckaloos.”

Hypothesis has been that Brian Burke, the previous basic supervisor of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Anaheim Geese, could comply with Cherry in “Hockey Evening In Canada’s” highlight section. Rogers is within the midst of a 12-year settlement with the NHL for $5.232 billion (Canadian), signed in 2013. It is the most important media rights deal in NHL historical past.