- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Don Cherry isn’t backing off.

The legendary “Hockey Night in Canada” announcer was fired Monday for comments about “you people that come here” not wearing poppies, the traditional symbol of support for Canada’s soldiers on Nov. 11. The remarks were construed as anti-immigrant.

In a phone interview with the Toronto Sun, the former NHL coach known for his loud suits and louder persona, was unapologetic.

“I know what I said and I meant it. Everybody in Canada should wear a poppy to honour our fallen soldiers,” Cherry said.

He also said that he wouldn’t have wanted to continue his 35-year run as host of the “Coach’s Corner” segment if he had to feign political correctness.

“To keep my job, I cannot be turned into a tamed robot,” Cherry said. “I would have liked to continue doing ‘Coach’s Corner’. The problem is if I have to watch everything I say, it isn’t ‘Coach’s Corner’.”

For decades before the weekend’s firing, Canadian nationalism had been a part of Cherry’s broadcast persona, which is also heavy on braggadocio.

When Scandinavian and East European players began playing in the NHL in large numbers in the 1980s (and in the latter case, especially after the fall of Communism) Cherry would often lament both the influx of foreigners and the influence of them on Canada’s national sport and league.

During broadcasts, he would mispronounce Slavic or Scandinavian names; offhandedly refer to the East Europeans as “commies” or “reds”; and say how, in an easily mocked Canadian accent in words he’d frequently use, these European softies were taking roster spots from hard-working Canadian boys.

Cherry finished the Toronto Sun interview by reminding Canadians “to wear your poppy to honour our fallen soldiers.”

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