TORONTO – CBC personality Don Cherry blasted the NHL Players Association’s firing of former union boss Paul Kelly on his “Coach’s Corner” segment on Saturday’s “Hockey Night in Canada.”
The NHLPA’s executive board voted to fire Kelly after a marathon meeting in a Chicago hotel in the early hours of Aug. 31.
In a sometimes heated exchange with host Ron MacLean, Cherry said he usually sides with players on issues, but couldn’t when it comes to Kelly.
“It’s terrible the way they treated him. They should be ashamed of themselves,” said Cherry.
“(To keep Kelly) waiting in the hall ’til 4 a.m., bring him back in and fire him, gotta do it that night, couldn’t do it the next day,” said a visibly upset Cherry.
“When I hear somebody’s fired quick like that, something fishy’s going on.”
Kelly is a former U.S. prosecutor in Massachusetts who helped bring former NHL union leader Alan Eagleson to justice on fraud charges.
No reason has been given for Kelly’s firing other than it came after a review of his leadership.