Debate over Don Cherry firing continues
In a country where you don’t have to look far on any given day to find people playing our national sport, a debate continues to rage about one of its best known personalities.
It’s been almost a week since the controversial firing of long-time hockey commentator Don Cherry, but the decision is still very much a hot topic among those who love the game.
“I think a lot of people are very, very saddened by what has happened,” says hockey fan Shirley Coates.
Sportsnet fired Cherry on Monday after his now infamous “you people” rant, which many felt was critical of immigrants for not wearing Remembrance Day poppies.
Shortly after Cherry’s comments, Sportsnet issued a statement condemning him.
“Don's discriminatory comments are offensive and they do not represent our values and what we stand for as a network," Sportsnet President Bart Yabsley said in a statement.
The decision to let Cherry go has caused quite a stir. But in the midst of what seems like a nationwide divide, novice hockey players from the Moncton Silverbacks spent the afternoon with seniors in Riverview, catching up on the game they all love.
“Really, the main part about hockey is that you can love hockey from when you’re a baby, right up until you’re over 100 years old,” says parent Sarah Crossman. “And that’s what we wanted to teach our boys today, your love of hockey never goes away just because you’re not on the ice or because you have differences in agreements.”
Cherry has since spoken out about his dismissal, but stopped short of a full fledged apology.
Sports broadcaster Ron MacLean addressed Cherry's dismissal on Saturday night’s "Hockey Night in Canada," saying he still loves his former co-host but ultimately had to choose “principle over friendship."
Speaking directly to viewers for nearly five minutes, MacLean said "Coach's Corner is no more" and laid out his feelings following Cherry’s divisive comments last week that cost him his job.
“We are all hurting. I have collapsed a hundred times, if not more,” MacLean said. “How can you choose principle over friendship? But I had to.”
MacLean made his comments Saturday night during the first intermission of “Hockey Night in Canada” as the Toronto Maple Leafs took on the Pittsburgh Penguins. Noticeably missing were the segment’s traditional fanfare and music.
“You know Don -- defiant. There were steps that needed to be taken because of what had been said by Don. And he didn’t want to do those steps. So he made his choice and I made mine,” MacLean said.
And Crossman says she is looking to pass on a similar message to her novice hockey team.
“Your friends are going to have differences with you, but it’s important to stand by your principles and I think that’s what Ron did,” adds Crossman. “And I think that’s what we’re showing is that even if you have differences, you’re going to come together and enjoy the game of hockey,”