Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry Fired By Sportsnet

Don Cherry
TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 13: Hockey commentator Don Cherry does a television interview before the Tampa Bay Rays MLB game against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 13, 2015 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

According to Joe Warmington of the Toronto Sun, Don Cherry of Coach’s Corner and Hockey Night in Canada has been fired by Sportsnet for comments made during Saturday’s broadcast.

Don Cherry’s Remarks

During his regular Coach’s Corner segment on Hockey Night in Canada, Don Cherry made remarks that were derogatory in nature about immigrants.

In the past Cherry has been criticized for his outspoken conservative politics, and his latest rant singled out new immigrants in the Toronto and Mississauga, Ontario area where he lives for not honoring Canada’s veterans and dead soldiers. What got him in real trouble was the use of the word “you people” in referring to immigrants. He used the word after saying immigrants don’t buy poppies. Then went on to say that these same people live off the country and do not care about the people who fought for freedom.

Apologies Issued

The backlash was fierce on Twitter as many people called for Sportsnet to fire the commentator. There was a fire that needed to be put out with Rogers and NHL being TV partners. Both the NHL and Sportsnet issued statements apologizing for Cherry’s comments.

“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. “We have spoken with Don about the severity of this issue and we sincerely apologize for these divisive remarks.”

“Hockey is at its best when it brings people together,” the league statement said. “The comments made last night were offensive and contrary to the values we believe in.”

All eyes were on Rogers Hometown Hockey on Sunday prior to the start of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks game as Ron MacLean, host of Hockey Night in Canada issued his own apology for Cherry’s comments.

Warmington reached out to Cherry on Sunday evening to get a comment from Cherry. Cherry did not retract his statements standing by what he said in the interview. “I have had my say,” Cherry told Warmington.

The Legacy of Don Cherry

Don Cherry has been a part of Hockey Night in Canada since 1981. He spent most of his hockey career playing in the minors before coaching the Boston Bruins for five seasons from 1974 to 1979 and the Colorado Rockies from 1979 to 1980. Cherry won the coach of the year in both the American Hockey League and the National Hockey League. There had been talk Cherry could head into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a broadcaster, with today’s developments that is no longer the case.

What’s Next

With Cherry removed from Hockey Night in Canada’s Coach’s Corner segment, the company will look to fill the first intermission time slot with something else. It will be interesting to see what direction they go in. If you are an avid watcher of the telecast, you know Brian Burke is right there to fill his shoes. Burke does a great job during the “On the Point” segment with David Amber during the first intermission of the late game. He could easily step right in with Ron MacLean.

TORONTO, CANADA – APRIL 13: Hockey commentator Don Cherry does a television interview before the Tampa Bay Rays MLB game against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 13, 2015 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

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Jim is a 2008 graduate of Saint Michaels College who is currently writing about the NHL for Last Word on Hockey. His work includes writing about the New Jersey Devils as well as NHL Notebooks for the Metro and Central Division. Jim has a passion for the game of hockey. As one coach put it "he is the student of the game." When Jim is not writing he can be found at the local rinks playing or being a referee. Throughout his time in the game, Jim continues to coach a local high school team. In addition, he broadcasted several New Jersey Junior Rockets games for the Eastern Hockey League. Reach him on Twitter: @JimBiringer

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