Canadian icon and hockey legend Don Cherry has been let go by Sportsnet after his comments on his show, Coach’s Corner, drew controversy.
Cherry’s termination, made public on Remembrance Day, comes only days after he made comments critical of those who do not wear poppies to honour those who served.
Sportsnet acknowledged Cherry’s departure after it was originally reported by Joe Warmington of the Toronto Sun, who said Cherry is “quite hurt” by the ordeal.
“Following further discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday night’s broadcast, it has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down,” Sportsnet President Bart Yabsley said in a statement.
“During the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for.”
On Saturday night’s episode of Coach’s Corner, Cherry shared a conversation he’d had with a veteran who was disappointed that no one was wearing poppies in his area.
“I live in Mississauga, nobody wears them… very few people wear poppies. Downtown Toronto, forget it! Downtown Toronto nobody wears a poppy, and I’m not going to waste [my time],” Cherry said.
“You people love — they come here, whatever it is, they love our way of life. You love our milk and honey, at least you could pay a couple of bucks for poppies or something like that.”
“These guys [veterans] pay for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada — these guys paid the biggest price.”
Coach’s Corner has become a centrepiece of Canadian culture since it first aired in 1982.
Cherry has hosted the show since the beginning, becoming an intergenerational household name in Canada.
In 2004, the CBC program The Greatest Canadian revealed that its ‘top ten’ viewer-selected great Canadians included Cherry.
Because of his vocal support of men and women in uniform, Cherry was granted honorary membership of the Police Association of Ontario in 2005 and was made a Dominion Command Honorary Life Member of the Royal Canadian Legion in 2007.
More to come.