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Why Was Hockey Commentator Don Cherry Fired?

Don Cherry, flamboyant, Canada’s most divisive and opinionated hockey pundit, was dismissed on Monday for referring to immigrants as “you people” during a rant on television in which he said they were not paying respect to the nation’s fallen troops. Following discussions with the 85-year-old broadcaster, Rogers Sportsnet President Bart Yabsley made the decision official in a statement.

It has been determined that now is the appropriate moment for him to resign, Yabsley stated. He said things that divided people during the program, which are inconsistent with our principles. Today had the day when Don Cherry was dismissed by Rogers Sportsnet due to a tirade in which he blamed immigrants for not purchasing poppies to remember Canada’s dead warriors.

Even if one disregards the fact that Cherry had no supporting proof, his tirade about “you people that come here…you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey…these folks paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada” was divisive and, at best, xenophobic, and at worst, racist. While all is going on, Hockey Night in Canada has continued.

The excitement around Cherry was missing for a while. The ratings decreased somewhat for a brief period but not significantly enough to worry Rogers officials. But Hockey Night came up with a clever solution and filled the gap with two individuals who enhanced the outcome.

For the network, former NHL player Kevin Bieksa was the equivalent of the Barry Pederson for Cam Neely steal, and he brought back a lot of the enthusiasm that had previously surrounded Cherry. (Bieksa’s lighthearted exchange with analyst Elliotte Friedman is entertaining enough to watch on its own. His knowledge of the game’s subtler nuances is priceless.)

In contrast, Brian Burke, a former NHL executive, was unrestricted in his ability to express his opinions and offer insight on pressing issues affecting the hockey community without fear of infringing on Cherry’s territory while using his actual NHL experience as a backdrop.

We receive information from a wider variety of qualified sources than ever before. And hockey has always been the main focus. We can see that right now. But more crucially, the Rogers Sportsnet executives who dismissed Cherry could never have foreseen the course of events that would take place in the world over the following 12 months, in either the hockey world or the real world.

And in that regard, they received a huge break when Cherry forced them to remove him from Coach’s Corner, giving them no other alternative. It would have been strange to hear Cherry’s voice amid the wave that was late 2019 and all of 2020. It was thus time in that sense as well as many others. The hockey world now has big differences from the one Cherry departed a year ago.

Akim Aliu, a former Calgary Flames player, disclosed the extensive litany of verbal and racial abuse that Calgary Flames head Coach Peters had committed against him while they were both in the lower leagues, forcing Peters to quit around three weeks after Cherry did. That sparked a revolutionary discussion about racial inclusion and diversity in gaming.

The game was put on indefinite hold due to the global pandemic, and when it finally started, Minnesota Wild player Matt Dumba made an impassioned speech about racism in sports before taking a knee during the singing of the national anthems.

Then, in August, after witnessing their league’s feeble attempts to address the killing of Jacob Blake and others by police, players took matters into their own hands and halted for two days during the playoffs to denounce racial injustice and brutality.

Since the formation of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, athletes like Ryan Reaves, Nazem Kadri, and Dumba—many of whom are the kids of the “you people” Cherry spoke to—have been more at ease speaking out and branching out outside hockey. These people are working hard to make hockey a safe and comfortable, more inclusive environment, and Cherry’s presence in the game would have been a further impediment.

There is little question Cherry would have felt out of place in hockey’s already painfully slow march toward diversity, even if he had decided to remain neutral on any of these concerns. He would have proceeded to normalize prejudice by serving as a prominent figure in the hockey community. In actuality, he was already performing that action when he arrived.


Cherry’s name frequently has a city as evidence that the NHL was only pandering to popular perception with meaningless phrases that were not accompanied by significant deeds when it sought to emphasize its efforts at inclusiveness and assert that “Hockey Is for Everyone” Cherry’s name was frequently cited as Exhibit A in defense of the league.

The NHL, the network’s broadcast partner, said Cherry’s statements “were insulting and opposed to the principles we believe in. Sportsnet issued a statement shortly before Cherry was let go, claiming that his remarks “do not represent our values and what we believe for as a network.” Budweiser, the company that sponsors Cherry’s “Coach’s Corner,” released a statement denouncing Cherry’s remarks.

Todd Allen, vice president of marketing for Labatt Breweries of Canada, which owns the Budweiser brand among other products, stated that the remarks made on Coach’s Corner on Saturday were inappropriate and polarising and did not represent Budweiser’s opinions. We promptly voiced our concerns as the broadcast’s sponsors, and we respect Sportsnet’s decision today, they said.

Donald Stewart Cherry: Childhood & Family

Delmar (Del) and Maude Cherry were the parents of Cherry when she was born in Kingston, Ontario. John T. (Jack) Cherry was a Great Lakes ship captain and a co-founder of the North-West Mounted Police, which has now known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Richard Palamountain, his maternal grandpa, immigrated to Canada as a Home Child. He was a British orphan with Cornish ancestry.

The Cornish word “pol-mun-tyr,” which means “pool beside the mineral land,” was corrupted to get the name Palamountain. Additionally, a former member of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, Palamountain. Del, Cherry’s dad, was a recreational athlete who performed as an electrician for Canadian Steamship Lines.

He initially met Rosemarie (Rose) Cherry, née Madelyn Martini, during his first season with the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears (born in 1935 in Hershey, Pennsylvania). Due to Don’s minor-league hockey lifestyle, Rose had an outstanding impact on his life.

The couple moved 53 times, rarely had proper housing or furnishings, and Don was frequently away playing during important occasions like the birth of their daughter and first child, Cindy Cherry. Tim Cherry was born to Rose six years after Cindy was born. Cindy gave one of her kidneys to Tim when he required a transplant at the age of 13.

The two presently reside in Mississauga, one block from their father and directly across the street from one another. Sikh Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan and Toronto Mayor John Tory both criticized Cherry’s comments when they made them on Saturday. Cherry was “far off base” to doubt the loyalty of more recent Canadians, according to Tory. Cherry resides in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga.

Cherry’s words were deemed vile by Bonnie Crombie, Mississauga’s mayor. Cherry’s “personal view was harsh, polarising, and in no way approved by the Legion,” according to the Royal Canadian Legion, which earns money by selling poppies. We continue to be grateful for his ardent support of veterans.

Donald Stewart Cherry: Career

Cherry is a major supporter of a rough “Canadian” style of hockey that stresses passing games and standards of practice among the players. He feels that fighting is an essential component of the game since it promotes respect between teams and players and has liked by some members of the general audience.

He had always been a supporter of diligent “journeyman” players, with whom he relates from his own experience at the lesser levels. Bobby Orr, whom Cherry considers to be the best player of all time, is his favorite player of all time.

Cam Neely, Vincent Lecavalier, and Doug Gilmour are a few more favorites. The National Hockey League’s recent decision to reduce fighting in favor of ability and speed has drawn harsh criticism from Cherry. He opposes several regulations, including the instigator rule and touch-up icing.

He also regularly chastised players for their excessive post-goal celebrations. Sidney Crosby, who was then a highly anticipated junior talent, was called a “hot dog” by Cherry in 2003 because of the manner he slid about on his knees after scoring, prompting Cherry to make headlines.

He also took the matter with the goal the young star achieved from behind the objective after the game had already been lost for the group of players he scored. He addressed the uproar that Alexander Ovechkin’s celebration following his 50th goal in 2009 had sparked.

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