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

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

BC Green Party leader visits Wet’suwet’en camps at heart of pipeline conflict

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada and First Nations

Another snowstorm expected for Terrace and Kitimat area

Wind is expected up to 80 km per hour

Don’t do anything hasty!

Kitimat sees a huge jump in property assessment values

Kitimat man gets 18 months for sexual touching and possession of child porn

Bradley Scott Sears appeared before court in Terrace after pleading guilty

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

Most Read