NHL commissioner, Sportsnet president remain quiet on Don Cherry firing

Tanya Simon
November 20, 2019

The first episode will purportedly address Don's removal from Sportsnet.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman stated Sportsnet broadcaster Ron MacLean "spoke from the heart" throughout his monologue on "Hockey Night in Canada" over the weekend.

Sportsnet fired Cherry on Monday, two days after his on-air comments from last Saturday's Coach's Corner, which many felt were critical of immigrants for not wearing Remembrance Day poppies.

"We are all hurting", said an emotional MacLean. "You people ... you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that", Cherry said on November 9.

After being fired by Sportsnet for his comments during his previously weekly "Coach's Corner" segment, Don Cherry has made a decision to create a new podcast, called 'Grapevine, ' according to Joe Warmington of the Toronto Sun.

The 27-minute podcast featured Cherry and his son, Tim.

MacLean, who apologized the day after, talked at length about his close relationship with Cherry during his monologue but said he had to choose "principle over friendship", adding "Coach's Corner is no more". While MacLean apologized last Sunday for Cherry's incendiary remarks, he went on to describe his decision to break with Cherry, after 34 years of partnership, as a necessary one.

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Cherry made comments on Hockey Night in Canada regarding new Toronto citizens not wearing poppies.

Today (Nov. 18), the Toronto Sun is reporting that Cherry's voice will be coming back to the airwaves as early as tomorrow.

"Coach's Corner" and HNIC are nonetheless broadcast on CBC in a sub-licensing take care of Rogers Media, which owns Sportsnet.

MacLean was the subject of some initial criticism for not calling Cherry out on his comments and offering a thumbs-up gesture. "But then I thought if I do that I infer what happened was right somehow, or that I am going along to get along, or that I am going to just sit silently by or be a bystander again in a situation".

The 85-year-old native of Kingston, Ont., joined HNIC in 1980 as a playoff analyst and was so in style that he was stored on as a color commentator.

Sportsnet is exploring new format options for the first intermission, a spokesperson said.

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