Over the years the commentary coming from Hockey Night in Canada pundit Don Cherry has sometimes been more colourful than his suits, and that’s saying something. Here’s a sample of some of his more eyebrow-raising remarks.
Mar. 29, 2013: Cherry lashed out on Twitter against a verdict handed down in a Toronto court. Cherry criticized the fact that Richard Kachkar, who killed a city policeman while driving a stolen snow plow, was found not criminally responsible and sentenced to time in a psychiatric hospital rather than prison. He blamed the verdict on an “unelected left-wing judge,” and erroneously proclaimed that Kachkar was walking away scot-free.
Jan. 7, 2013: Cherry took to Twitter to ask if the Canadian government was “nuts” for sending $49.5 million in aid to earthquake-ravaged Haiti in recent years.
Jan. 23, 2006: Cherry laid out his agenda if he was ever elected to be prime minister of Canada. He said criminals would “run scared” under his regime, which would feature more prisons, dispense with rehab and encourage jailers to “throw away the key.”
Jan. 24, 2004: Cherry’s popular “Coach’s Corner” segment featured a rant on the use of visors in the NHL, which prompted the commentator to say the protective gear was worn by wimps and usually sported by “Europeans and French guys.” The comments were taken as a slur against Francophone Canadians, touched off criticism from numerous federal politicians and forced the CBC to temporarily implement a seven-second tape delay on his segments.
Mar. 31, 2003: Cherry went on a U.S. radio show to repeat his previous comments about Canada’s unwillingness to fight in Iraq. He also criticized an incident in which the American national anthem was booed at a Montreal Canadiens game, insisting that “true Canadians” do not feel the way they do in Quebec.
Mar. 22, 2003: Cherry entered into a heated debate with “Coach’s Corner” co-host Ron MacLean about Canada’s failure to join the war in Iraq. The debate and Cherry’s pro-U.S. sentiments prompted at least 1,500 complaints to the CBC.
Feb. 21, 2002: Cherry went on a rant against Russia during commentary at the Salt Lake City Olympics, calling Russians “quitters” and taking Canada to task for its multiculturalism.
Feb. 22, 1998: Cherry criticized Canada’s choice of skier Jean-Luc Brassard as Olympic flag-bearer, calling him “a French guy, some skier nobody knows about.” The CBC ombudsman would later rule that Cherry’s comments crossed the line.
September 1996: Cherry blasted Canadian fans for cheering for Russia over the U.S during a World Cup of Hockey match. He called the lack of support for Canada’s southern neighbour “a disgrace,” and said Canada would rely on Americans if attacked by a foreign power.
October 1990: Cherry appeared in a commercial in which he disparagingly compared non-aggressive hockey play to the ballet. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet challenged him to take a lesson. Cherry agreed, but emerged saying the dancers he worked with couldn’t make it in the NHL.