TORONTO (NEWS 1130) — The iconic theme song was nowhere to be heard, and the loud, colourful suits were nowhere to be seen.
Coach’s Corner is no more.
For the first time in nearly 40 years, Hockey Night in Canada went ahead without a segment featuring Don Cherry on Saturday.
Instead, viewers saw erstwhile co-host Ron MacLean, alone, delivering a statement addressing Cherry’s firing.
“We’re all disappointed,” MacLean began. “Bobby Orr is disappointed in me, Bobby I’m disappointed in me.”
Cherry lost his job last week after making statements about newcomers to Canada during the Saturday broadcast that Sportsnet denounced as “divisive” and MacLean called “hurtful and prejudiced.”
MacLean went on to say he has spent the week listening, reflecting, and communicating with Cherry.
“I don’t want to be cavalier in any regard, I don’t want to be sanctimonious or righteous.”
Then, he took viewers through a play-by-play of last week’s broadcast.
He said when Cherry made the remarks he thought to himself, “I don’t think I’m hearing trouble but I might be hearing trouble.”
He says in this day and age people are not given a “pulpit” like the one Cherry had without being immediately caught out by the masses on social media.
“You caught it,” he said, adding he apologized immediately. Cherry, however, did not.
“You know Don–defiant. There were steps that had to be taken because of what had been said by Don and he didn’t want to do those steps,” MacLean said. “He made his choice and I made mine.”
He ended by saying he apologized in a move that forced a choice between between friendship and principle, and credited Cherry for teaching him how to take a stand.
“We have–like the country, to re-imagine ourself,” MacLean said. “We honour what you’ve meant to the game. I love you so much.”