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Canada needs Cherry's opinion
By BRET HART
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In 1995, I was approached by some old-school hockey guys, along with Theo Fleury and Joe Sakic, with a proposal to bring WHL hockey back to Calgary. I said count me in and was beyond flattered when they named the team after me and used the colours of my wrestling gear as the team's.

At the press conference announcing the team's debut, we unveiled a cool, edgy logo. However, a handful of local media types proclaimed the logo too violent. It was replaced by a logo so wimpy the team couldn't give merchandise away.

After one season, it was quietly retired in favour of the original logo, which the team still sports today.

During the height of the logo controversy, I couldn't help but smile when I was kicking back watching Hockey Night In Canada and Don Cherry, whom I'd never met, brought it up on air.

He defended both the logo and the team's association with me. He saw anything that promotes junior hockey and brings in new fans as a good thing. It meant a lot to me when he defended me and I never forgot it.

Now it's Grapes who is under fire -- again. My view is Cherry is meant to entertain us and he does it very well.

His down-to-earth delivery is a breath of fresh air. They're his opinions. He's talking for himself and, like anyone else, we're not going to see eye to eye on every point. So just agree to disagree.

I've met Cherry on a few occasions now and he's just like the guy on TV. What you see is what you get. The real deal.

Some say making money is Cherry's obvious motive and allege he doesn't care what you or I have to say about him because he's laughing all the way to the bank.

Let me tell you a little story: When Wrestlemania came to Canada for the first time in 1990 at Toronto's SkyDome, the WWF invited Cherry to be on the show.

Despite the fact there was big money on the table and it would have been an easy payday, Cherry declined.

Not that he has a problem with wrestling, he just felt he'd stick with what he's known for and does best -- hockey. It was a classy decision that only begins to define a man who is tirelessly involved with charity causes.

The Rose Cherry Foundation, named after the departed love of his life, assists sick and dying children. He donated all the proceeds from a recent reprinting of his biography to research on liver disease.

Cherry is at times brash, abrasive, arrogant and controversial but he is a part of Canadiana -- love him or hate him -- and we're better off with him than without him.