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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Supporting a friend with mental health issues

AHS: Do you have a friend who just doesn’t seem to be their usual self?

PHOTOS: Ponoka Curling Club hosts Alberta Junior Curling Tour Event

The Ponoka Curling Club hosted its first-ever Alberta Junior Curling Tour Event… Continue reading

Jeffery Kraft of Ponoka remembered for being loving, well-liked

Kraft passed away on Dec. 15, 2019, in Lacombe at 20 years old

Deserving Ponoka student appointed to National Youth Council

Yael Witvoet will now be able to advocate for causes on a national scale

Province investigating death of Samson Cree Nation youth in care

16-year-old found deceased outside in Rocky Mountain House

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

UPDATE Human remains found in Manny’s Motel ruins

UPDATE RCMP Major Crimes Unit Investigate Fatal Fire in Wetaskiwin

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

Most Read