SBD/Issue 96/Sports Media

Grapes Of Wrath: Don Cherry Not Going Away Anytime Soon

Cherry (r) Says He Would Quit Working The
CBC's "Hockey Night" If MacLean Quit
CBC hockey analyst Don Cherry said he has no plans to stop hosting "Coach's Corner" on "Hockey Night in Canada," as he has "so much fun" with the segment, according to a cover story Q&A by Ryan Kennedy of THE HOCKEY NEWS. Cherry said of the "Coach's Corner" feature, "I really believe that one day I'll be fired, there's no doubt about that. They'll come and say they want to go in a different direction. ... I look forward to Saturdays like you wouldn't believe." Cherry said there is nobody who could replace him on "Coach's Corner." Cherry: "I'd hate to be the next guy to come on at the end of the first period. When you're on for 28 years, it would be tough. I think if [host Ron] MacLean quit, I'd quit, too." Cherry said he was having his makeup done the first time he met CBC Sports Exec Dir Scott Moore, and Moore said, "I'm Scott Moore, would you like your pink slip now or later?" Cherry: "We've got a strange situation, but I think Scott understands me." When asked if 30 teams is "too much in the NHL," Cherry said, "When they expanded into Atlanta and Florida, Nashville and Phoenix, I said they were making a big mistake. ... Look at the Florida Panthers. They're doing pretty good right now and no one's going. You've got to go where people love hockey. I know the NHL doesn't like to hear that stuff, but they don't love hockey down there, it's football country" (THE HOCKEY NEWS, 2/9 issue).

LARGER THAN LIFE: The GLOBE & MAIL's Tim Wharnsby writes of Cherry, "Love him or hate him, you can't deny his huge popularity," as there is a "movie about Cherry's life currently in the preproduction stage." Cherry's passion for hockey and for his "Coach's Corner" segment "has not dwindled," and he is "as bombastic as ever." Two issues have Cherry "up in arms these days: He wishes the NHL would adopt no-touch icing to protect the players from serious injury, and he can't stand critics who want to rid the game of fighting." Cherry: "The only people against fighting are the people who don't pay to get in or the people who don't go to the games. I see that (survey) that said 54[%] of the people don't want fighting in hockey. But if you look at it closely, over 70[%] of the people at the games want to see fighting. So let's see, we're going to change hockey for the people that don't go or aren't involved in the games. That's the logic that these people put out there" (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/5).

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