Fire Cherry, ex-Hab says
BRIAN DALY, QMI Agency
|Habs legend Mario Tremblay wants the CBC to can Don Cherry, its high-collared commentator. (Martin Chevalier/QMI Agency)
MONTREAL -- The CBC and much of English Canada are backing Don Cherry after his latest diatribe, but some in Quebec are calling for the state broadcaster to shelve Grapes' wrath permanently.
Montreal Canadiens legend Mario Tremblay wants the CBC to can its high-collared commentator for saying that ex-enforcers who oppose fighting in the NHL are "pukes" and "hypocrites."
"Don Cherry should be fired," Tremblay told QMI Agency this week. "This is terrible language he used.
"If a Quebecer had talked that way (on TV), they'd already be fired. Cherry is still there. It's amazing."
Former Colorado Avalanche and Atlanta Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said Cherry's rant even made waves in Switzerland, where Hartley now coaches the Zurich Lions.
"It wasn't good for hockey," said Hartley, a franco-Ontarian. "The era of hockey fights is history."
Cherry lit into Chris Nilan, Stu Grimson and Jim Thomson on Hockey Night in Canada last week. All three former NHL enforcers issued a statement this week that they were considering options, including legal avenues, against Cherry.
The CBC says it supports Cherry's right to state his opinion even when it doesn't share his views.
But while commentators and fans in English Canada are backing the outspoken advocate of Rock 'em, Sock 'em hockey, others say he has crossed the line -- again.
Cherry once was voted one of the 10 greatest Canadians in history in a CBC poll but he has drawn a sour grapes reaction in Quebec after years of disparaging remarks about francophones.
He once referred to Quebecers as "whiners" and called freestyle skier Jean-Luc Brassard "that French guy."
The former Boston Bruins coach later drew ire in Quebec over the issue of protective visors, saying that "most of the guys that wear them are European or French guys."
His comments even prompted an investigation by the Official Languages Commissioner.
One Quebecer who backed Cherry's sentiments about tough guys-turned fighting foes was former Habs enforcer Georges Laraque. Reiterating statements he made last month, Laraque said former brawlers looking for work as broadcasters shouldn't bite the hand that feeds them.
"Those who have earned their living by fighting and now enjoy their status on radio or TV ... are hypocrites if they speak out against the fights," Laraque told QMI Agency this week.
"Where I find that Cherry exaggerated it was by naming guys in particular, using a word like puke. It was too much."