So will Don Cherry get booed tonight at the Place des Festivals?

Posted: October 1, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

When the folks from head office at the National Hockey League in New York City told me a few days back that they would be broadcasting Coach’s Corner live on the big screens at the big opening-night bash at Montreal’s Place des Festivals Tuesday, I wondered if the NHL brass had any idea just how much Montrealers dislike Don Cherry. The game will be broadcast live via giant screen using the RDS feed en francais but will cut to Hockey Night in Canada at the first intermission to air Coach’s Corner. Rockers Kings of Leon are the warm-up act for the Coach.

I was on Radio-Canada Télévision’s Entrée principale Monday to break the news to their audience that it’s not only francos that don’t dig the Coach in his Corner. I was saying that there’s also a good chunk of anglo Montrealers who’re not wild about Canada’s most famous TV personality.

Why? Well there is the Bruins thing for one. Here’s a guy who’s built his career on his ties to the team that we most hate in the world and his whole persona is constructed around one famous evening when the Golden-Era Habs crushed the Bs thanks to some bad coaching from the Bruins’ side. Cherry is all about not being a Habs fan.

Then there’s his views on everything else, from not liking women in the dressing room to dissing Europeans and francophones for supposedly being wimpy, visor-wearing types. They’re just not views that sit well with most folks ’round these parts, whether they’re English or French.

Oh and let’s just say that when he personally insulted local hero Chris Nilan during that whole enforcers debate, his popularity chez nous didn’t exactly receive a big boost.

But don’t expect Cherry to go quietly into the night any time soon. I remember being on a conference call with Kirstine Stewart, then the big boss at CBC-TV, and she was talking about cuts to sports programming. I asked if maybe one of the cuts would be the kindly ol’ coach given that he hauls in a huge salary.

Her reply? “Coach’s Corner is a profit centre’. That’s all you need to know. As Grandmaster Flash put it so memorably all those years ago, “It’s all about money/Ain’t a damn thing funny”.

So what kind of reaction will Cherry receive when he hits the big screens around Place des Arts during the first intermission of the Habs-Leafs dance Tuesday night? Stay tuned.

  1. Simon Cowl says:

    Gotta stick up for Don here…

    I’m centrist, if anything, and I have no problem with Don Cherry because he’s always up front about his beliefs. Better that than all the secrecy and sham sincerity associated with so many other right wing politicians, politicos, and on-air personalities.

    As far as Montreal hockey fans are concerned, it’s all about who we love to hate. On a night when the Leafs are in town, why NOT show Coach’s Corner in the Place des Festivals? It will just get fans behind the team that much more. Every hero needs a villain.

    Anyway, Coach’s Corner is a “profit center” because Don is talented, period. At his age, to continue delivering rock solid hockey analysis every week is very impressive. If anal-retentive people who rarely, if ever, actually watch Coach’s Corner weren’t so inclined to label him and dismiss him for purely facile reasons (facile, in the English sense of the word), he would be much more widely recognized as a national treasure.

    Love him or hate him, Don Cherry’s Coach’s Corner is among the best television coming out of Canada.

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