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Morning Flurries: Don Cherry’s departure

Tampa Bay Rays v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The heavily-injured Colorado Avalanche were given a nice, much needed two-day rest over the long weekend, getting both Sunday and Monday off of the game schedule before heading back into action later on tonight.

But while the Avalanche had a fairly quiet weekend, the rest of the league certainly didn’t.

Saturday night saw one of hockey’s longest-running public figureheads ignite a firestorm, as Don Cherry — former Boston Bruins and Colorado Rockies head coach and 30-plus year veteran of the broadcasting segment Coach’s Corner — took the opportunity to use the segment to blast foreigners in Canada for not wearing Remembrance Day Poppies.

The aftermath?

First, Sportsnet, Hockey Canada, and the NHL apologized for the comments and condemned Cherry for making them.

Then, his own broadcasting partner, Ron MacLean, went live on air and apologized for the comments and his own complacency in their aftermath:

Through it all, though, Cherry remained markedly unrepentant. He spoke exclusively to a single reporter to confirm that he’d meant exactly what he said and would have no further comments on the matter (which cleared up the weak offerings that he might have just been misunderstood). And finally, after over 24 hours of nothing quieting down and Cherry refusing to walk back on any of the anti-immigrant sentiment in his tirade, Rogers decided they’d had enough. After 33 years of his show being on air, Don Cherry was fired.

I won’t rehash all of my thoughts on Don Cherry — and his suits, his weird piano-playing desk gestures when he got fired up — being gone from our collective hockey viewing experience. You can find all of that here. But this was my general takeaway:

“Some people say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. They say that the ‘greatest’ generation is so set in their ways that they’ll never be able to change. But frankly, that’s just making excuses for an old man who’s not incapable of change, but unwilling to make it; Don Cherry isn’t helplessly trapped in the past, he’s wilfully remaining there. That’s entirely on him.

My great-aunt, who watched Johnny Bower win the Stanley Cup, has learned how to use Facebook, Instagram, instant messengers, and an iPhone. The Arizona snowbirds who use their retirement years to winter in warmer weather have learned how to use key-less car starters, GPS, and bluetooth. Bob McKenzie is 63 years old, and has somehow figured out how to use Twitter (and better than half of millenials and Gen Z-ers on that stupid platform). 64-year-old Brian Burke has attended Pride Parades. Our brains don’t magically lose the ability to learn as we get older, and we have to stop pretending that Don Cherry has somehow lost the capability to absorb new information about the world around him. It’s demeaning, it infantilizes anyone old enough to qualify for a senior discount, and it lets him off the hook when he makes comments that have no place in the modern discourse.”

Anyways. Speaking of Don Cherry, here’s a hit he would love:

Unfortunately for him, NHL Player Safety didn’t love it so much. He’ll sit out Columbus’ next three games for this one. [NHL Player Safety]

Finally, we’ll end on a high note. If you haven’t already, check out this incredible discussion between our very own Lauren Kelly and Hardev Lad, who talked about Hardev’s incredibly diverse journey to where he is in the hockey mediascape now: