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MacLean calls first Hockey Night in Canada without Cherry the 'end of an era'

Last Updated Nov 16, 2019 at 4:41 pm PDT

Ron MacLean, shown in this Monday March 10, 2014 file photo, returns to the Hockey Night in Canada host's chair this season following a two-year absence. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO — Ron MacLean said he will address Don Cherry’s dismissal during the first intermission of Saturday’s “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcast.

MacLean opened Saturday’s show — the first since Sportsnet fired Don Cherry on Monday — by saying there were “obviously mixed emotions” ahead of the broadcast, and called it “the end of the era.”

Cherry’s 38-year run on Hockey Night ended Monday, after he made on-air comments last Saturday which many felt were critical of immigrants for not wearing Remembrance Day poppies.

MacLean, the longtime co-host of Coach’s Corner with Cherry, apologized last Sunday.

Sportsnet said on Friday that Saturday’s first intermission would highlight the 2019 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees. The induction ceremony is Monday.

Sportsnet also said they may eventually take the long-running first-intermission segment in a different direction.

Cherry, an 85-year-old native of Kingston, Ont., joined HNIC in 1980 as a playoff analyst and was so popular that he was kept on as a colour commentator.

CBC later created “Coach’s Corner” as a vehicle to showcase Cherry with MacLean eventually replacing Dave Hodge as his sidekick.