Don Cherry, born and raised in Kingston Ontario, is known for his openness, often debatable and always amusing commentary. Mr. Cherry can be seen weekly during the National Hockey League season. He has a segment during the first intermission, every Saturday on CBC’s Hockey Night In Canada called the Coach’s Corner. Don grew up playing hockey, for he was playing in the OHL by the time he was 17. Unfortunately, Don never made it big, but he managed to make his way around the minor league system for a good 15 years.
He played a few games in the NHL, attended many training camps, but nothing to brag about. But, that is where Don is different, for he will brag about his days on the ice. He will let every one know about his toughness, grit and determination. After his days as a minor league player, Don was hired on as the head coach for the Boston Bruins, where he experienced much success including a coach of the year award in 1976. It was in 1984 where Don found his true calling though, for it was that year where he accepted a job on the popular Hockey Night in Canada.
Don’s first controversial television interview came after the 1986/87 World Junior Championship game, in which Canada and the Soviets had an unbelievable brawl. Don condoned the on-ice violence, and that it what he believes in to this very day. Now it is almost as though every Saturday night, Don has something new and controversial to say. It is for this reason that large numbers of people tune in for the first intermission to see Coach’s Corner. Don has been very open with his dislike for European hockey players, especially Russian’s.
Don is the owner of the Mississauga Ice Dogs of the OHL, and he does not have one European player on the team. Don has also been very open with regards to fighting in hockey. He has stated time and time again that fighting is part of hockey, and for this he has been criticized greatly. This is an example of one of Don’s many great qualities. Don Cherry’s best quality is the fact that he has the ability to say what he thinks, and say what he believes.
For example, during the last Winter Olympics in Nagano, Premier Bouchard of Quebec complained that the Jean Luc Brossard carried a Canadian flag instead of a Quebec flag. Sure enough on Saturday night Don had a few choice words for Mr. Bouchard. The fact that Don Cherry has the ability to say aloud what he believes in is not only a quality in which he possess, but it is a quality that I have as well. I will say what I am thinking, and I am not afraid of the negative reaction I may receive.
The reason for this is, because if I have something controversial to say I will not just “blurt” it out, I will think first, have something to back my statement up with, and then say it. To some it is shocking that Don Cherry is still the same man he is today that he was five years ago. The reason for this is the fact that a tragedy hit Don in June of 1997, when his wife Rose Cherry passed away. Many thought that Don would tone down his criticisms, and not be the usual controversial Don Cherry. The fact of the matter is that Don has not changed, and he still continues to speak his mind.
Don Cherry truly is an interesting character. He has found a way to make it “big time” in a sport in which he wasn’t good enough to make it in. This makes him quite unique, for not every minor league hockey player turns out to be as popular as Don Cherry is. What makes him even more unique is the fact that he is so popular despite the controversial subject matter that he talks about week in and week out. The public need to stop criticizing what Don has to say, and listen closely, for a lot of the things he talks about are subjects which are not being addressed properly.