Former Coach’s Corner host Don Cherry said that he will not be coaching the Jan. 16 CHL/NHL Prospects game this year. 

According to Cherry, he decided not to participate in order to protect the future hockey players from media scrutiny. 

“It was a tough call to make to (CHL President) David Branch to tell him I decided it would best if I stepped away. But this game is about the kids. It’s about the hockey prospects and their futures,” said Cherry.

The game’s purpose is to bring attention to up and coming CHL players ahead of the NHL draft. Cherry has coached one of the teams in the game nearly twenty times alongside NHL superstar Bobby Orr, who usually coaches the other team.

Cherry was fired by Sportsnet earlier this month for calling on all Canadians to wear poppies for Remembrance Day. After the mainstream media took Cherry’s comments out of context, Sportsnet decided to fire the long-time host. 

After he was fired several current and former hockey players including Orr, came out in Cherry’s defence. Orr called the decision by Sportsnet “disgraceful,” while former Calgary Flames player Theo Fleury took to social media to defend Cherry. 

Colorado Avalanche player, Nazem Kadri, also spoke in support of Cherry, saying that his comments were taken out of context. 

“I know Grapes and I don’t think it came across like everyone is making it sound. I think with what he said, it was maybe just said incorrectly. People maybe took it out of context a little bit. I know Grapes is a great person and am sad to see him go,” said Kadri. 

Since his dismissal, Cherry has stood by his support for the Canadian armed forces and started his own hockey podcast called the “Grapevine.”

“It’s fun. It’s sitting around the table telling stories. It keeps me connected with the fans. I have no plans right now to do anything else,” said Cherry about the show. 

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