Ron MacLean (left) sits beside Don Cherry as Rogers TV unveils their team for the station’s NHL coverage in Toronto on Monday, March 10, 2014. MacLean addressed Don Cherry’s dismissal during the first intermission of Saturday’s “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcast. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

Ron MacLean addressed Don Cherry’s dismissal with a lengthy monologue during the first period intermission of Saturday’s “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcast, saying “Coach’s Corner is no more.”

MacLean opened the intermission segment — the first since Sportsnet fired Cherry on Monday — by speaking alone on camera for nearly five minutes.

“We are all hurting. I have collapsed a 100 times this week, if not more,” MacLean said. ”We are all disappointed. … I’ve sat all week long reflecting, listening to you (the viewer) — and I have heard you. I’ve reflected by listening to my own heart. … and I’ve struggled mightily to find the words.”

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.

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in Toronto and Mississauga, Ont., where he lives, for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers.

Outrage over Cherry’s words mounted until his dismissal was announced. Cherry later denied he was singling out visible minorities.

MacLean, the longtime co-host of Coach’s Corner with Cherry, had apologized last Sunday for the comments and his lack of response. He reiterated that on Saturday night.

“I felt so bad and I apologized immediately. And Don, you know Don, defiant,” MacLean said. ”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 also talked at length about his close relationship with Cherry but said he had to chose “principle over friendship.”

“I thought a lot about falling on my sword too,” said MacLean. ”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.”

READ MORE: Bobby Orr defends Don Cherry, rips Sportsnet for decision to fire commentator

Saturday night’s first intermission also featured a segment with MacLean interviewing Hayley Wickenheiser and Guy Carbonneau, two inductees of this year’s Hockey Hall of Fame class. The induction ceremony is Monday.

Wickenheiser also mentioned Cherry in that short, three-minute segment, saying she appreciated that “he was always talking about women’s hockey.”

Sportsnet called Cherry’s remarks from last Saturday “divisive,” and said they “do not represent our values or what we stand for” when announcing his firing on Monday.

Sportsnet also said earlier this week that they could eventually take the long-running Coach’s Corner segment in a different direction.

“We’re taking the time to explore new formats for the first intermission,” Sportsnet communications director Andrew Garas said in an email to The Canadian Press late Friday afternoon.

HNIC was a longtime CBC Saturday night staple, but the show and its games moved to Sportsnet when Rogers landed a lucrative long-term broadcast rights deal with the NHL that began in 2014. “Coach’s Corner” and HNIC are still broadcast on CBC in a sub-licensing deal with Rogers Media, which owns Sportsnet.

Cherry, a native of Kingston, Ont., joined HNIC in 1980 as a playoff analyst and was so popular that he was kept on as a colour commentator. CBC later created “Coach’s Corner” as a vehicle to showcase Cherry with MacLean eventually replacing Dave Hodge as his sidekick.

Known for his outlandish suits and thumbs-up gesture, Cherry occasionally weighed in on off-ice topics during his popular first-intermission program, and sometimes those views landed him in hot water.

READ MORE: Sportsnet looks at new options for Coach’s Corner time slot, post-Don Cherry

The Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council said earlier this week it was so overloaded with complaints after last Saturday’s segment that it exceeded the organization’s technical processing capacity.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Rob Morrison sworn in as Kootenay-Columbia MP

Parliament set to reconvene on Thursday with election of House Speaker, Throne Speech

LETTER: Reflections on democracy and community from former Green party candidate

Abra Brynne ran in the 2019 federal election to be Kootenay-Columbia’s MP

Basin economic snapshot shows Kootenay a mixed bag

State of the Basin report shows economic recovery from recession a slow go

VIDEO: Led by ‘Marriage Story,’ Netflix dominates Golden Globe noms

Netflix flexed its muscles across all categories, just as it is girding for battle with a host of new streaming services

320 years since the ‘Big One’ doesn’t mean it’s overdue: B.C. professor

‘It could happen today, tomorrow or 100 years from now’

Would you leave your baby alone to go to the gym? This Canadian dad did

The man identifies just as a divorced dad with a nine-month-old baby

B.C. coroner asking for help identifying man found dead in Peace region

Mounties have deemed the man’s death not suspicious and believe he died earlier this year

Lawyer competence includes knowledge of Indigenous-Crown history: B.C. law society

All practising lawyers in B.C. will be required to take a six-hour online course covering these areas

Wealth of Canadians divided along racial lines, says report on income inequality

One interesting finding was that racialized men have a higher employment rate than non-racialized men

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

Most Read