Rink transformed for Cherry film

JASON HALSTEAD, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

It was old-time hockey day at the Selkirk Recreation Complex yesterday when it stood in for minor league rinks of the '50s and '60s as filming of hockey scenes got underway for the TV biopic of Canadian hockey icon Don Cherry.

Over 400 volunteer extras decked out in their Sunday best filled the stands around the retro-fit rink as crews shot scenes of pivotal games from Cherry's playing days for Keep Your Head Up Kid: The Don Cherry Story.

Terry Gould, producer of the four-hour miniseries set to air on CBC next year, said filming in Manitoba is going well.

"Everyone is so into this," Gould said. "It's amazing how many hockey moms and dads we have on the crew."

The story is a look back at Cherry's life, from a 10-year-old growing up in Kingston, Ont., through his 17 years as a player and up to his years as an NHL coach.

Gould said he expects Cherry to come and check out the production first-hand.

"Likely in Brandon, but we're at the mercy of the NHL playoffs," Gould said.

Cherry's son Tim, the project's writer and executive producer, was on set yesterday.

"I'm really happy with the way it looks," said Tim Cherry, 45.

"It's a little nerve-wracking to see your family's life put out there, but we're excited."

In one scene, recounting a 1965 game, Cherry, played by actor Jared Keeso, hoists the American Hockey League's Calder Cup while playing for the Rochester Americans. The feistier side of the Coach's Corner host was on view in the day's other scene, a re-creation of a 1957 scrap when Cherry was playing for the Hershey Bears.

As the fight continues in the penalty box, Cherry's teammate, Larry Zeidel, rips the box's gate from its hinges and tosses it on the ice to ensure he'd beat Cherry as the team's penalty minute leader.

"It's just so over-the-top." said Tim Cherry of the fight scene. "I wanted to show how it was then."

Veteran film extra Ray Simmel, 65, of Winnipeg put the finishing touches on his circa-1957 wardrobe as he looked forward to the scrap scene.

"I'm a hockey man, so it's interesting being out there," said Simmel. "Hockey's not good without that kind of thing."

More volunteer extras are needed as the eight-week shoot continues at the Selkirk rink next Sunday.

On June 14, crews will shift the scene to Brandon, where the Keystone Centre will stand in for various NHL settings.

People interested in volunteering as extras are asked to call 784-8173 or visit the website thedoncherrystory.com.


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