Is it time to get bid adieu to Don Cherry?

The Compass - - SPORTS - Ni­cholas Mercer Ni­cholas Mercer is a re­porter/pho­tog­ra­pher with The Com­pass. He lives in Bay Roberts and can be reached at nmercer@ cb­n­com­

What I’m go­ing to share with you this week won’t be a pop­u­lar thing. It’s about hockey and one of this na­tion’s most cher­ished fig­ures.

Now, I know it’s sum­mer so who wants to hear about ice and cold. Well, ap­par­ently Cana­di­ans do.

Hockey is a 12-month a year thing, so bear with me.

I know Coach’s Cor­ner is a Cana­dian hockey in­sti­tu­tion, but isn’t it high time we found a re­place­ment for Cherry? Just hear me out for a sec­ond. The man is 82-years-old and speaks of a game be­gin­ning to pass him by. His in­ter­mis­sion coach­ing ad­vice still con­tains some nuggets. Young play­ers can learn some things from him, but it’s noth­ing pay­ing at­ten­tion to the games won’t tell you.

A good coach will prob­a­bly al­ready touch on a lot of what he says any­way.

The thing that re­ally grinds my gears about him is his bla­tant hypocrisy when it comes to Cana­dian play­ers.

Ev­ery one of them can walk on wa­ter if you were to be­lieve Mr. Cherry. They’re al­ways hum­ble, love their moth­ers (they prob­a­bly do) and give the game an hon­est ef­fort ev­ery time out.

How many Cana­dian un­der20 (World Ju­niors) play­ers throw their bod­ies into the glass af­ter a goal, even when up a ton?

There are plenty. One of them even lost his stick once dur­ing a cel­e­bra­tion once. Yet, there is Cherry telling us the ‘good Cana­dian boys” don’t do the over-the-top cel­e­bra­tion thing and he chides the Euro­peans for do­ing it. Give me a break. The fi­nal straw for me came a cou­ple of week­ends ago. It was the 2016 NHL Draft in Buf­falo.

The Maple Leafs took a Rus­sian, a Swede and three Amer­i­cans in the first three rounds, while fin­ish­ing with four Amer­i­cans, three Rus­sians, three Cana­di­ans and a Swede.

That didn’t sit well with ol’ Don. He hopped on Twit­ter and gave his opin­ion on the draft. Cherry was look­ing for a more On­tario heavy draft group from Toronto. The Greater Toronto Hockey League has 40,000 kids and that should’ve been the fo­cus.

In­stead, the GTHL was put on the back­burner by the Leafs. It was a kick in the pills ac­cord­ing to Cherry.

“We were look­ing for­ward to the draft so much and he drafts three Amer­i­cans, a Swede and a Rus­sian in the first three rounds but we will still cheer and sup­port the Leafs.”

What dif­fer­ence does it make if their from Stock­holm or Mis­sis­sauga?

The only thing that should mat­ter is whether the kids can play or not. It’s the best day so far in the lives of many of th­ese play­ers. They don’t de­serve to be thrown un­der the bus be­cause a cou­ple of kids from On­tario had their feel­ings hurt be­cause the Leafs didn’t pick them. Deal with it. But, it speaks to the dou­ble stan­dard Cherry holds for hockey as a whole. It’s a re­flec­tion of how Cana­di­ans feel about the game and their play­ers.

There’s ar­ro­gance in this coun­try about hockey. First, there’s the no­tion that ev­ery­one loves hockey — that isn’t true — it’s our na­tional game (only partly true) and the best cap­tains can only be from Canada.

Be­ing a hockey snob isn’t cool. The best goal scorer we’ve seen in a decade is Rus­sian, the best de­fence­man was a Swede and a bunch of Finns are at the top of the goal­tend­ing heap.

I like Don Cherry. I just wish he’d give ev­ery­one who isn’t Cana­dian an hon­est shake.

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