By Fred Wallace
Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".
So ends the week where the top sports story was the firing of Hockey Commentator Don Cherry by Sportsnet.
I liked Don Cherry on TV, probably more so in earlier times, but I tuned in when I could. The issue of course is that his Coach's Corner segment runs opposite the usual Owen Sound Attack Saturday home games, so for the last 30 years I really only caught him in the Spring during the NHL Playoffs.
Did I agree with everything Don Cherry said ? Certainly not. If I ballpark it, I'd say I was around the 50 % mark, but agree or disagree with whatever was being said, I knew it was compelling viewing, and the kind of programming that attracts big bucks for a minimal expanse of time.
Did I agree with what Don Cherry said last, the comments that led to his dismissal ? At the root or heart of those remarks, YES, I do agree; purchasing a poppy, wearing a poppy, supporting our Legions, respecting our Canadian war veterans, then & now, are significant activities and gestures that should be conducted by every Canadian- no question.
However, the primary issue with Poppy Protocol, and so many other Don Diatribes, is do those sentiments, his sentiments, belong on National TV as part of a hockey broadcast ?
Truthfully, this could have been nipped in the bud decades ago had the CBC cum Sportsnet made a clear declaration to Don Cherry that Don Cherry was to stick to hockey and hockey alone. That edict was never delivered, as far as I know, and therefore the lengthy path to last Saturday's explosive finale was almost a case of where and when.
Which suddenly brings us to the next dilemma, certainly for Rogers & Sportsnet now stumbling half way through their 12 year $ 5 billion dollar NHL agreement; how do you replace Don Cherry ? Who replaces him ? And how much of a financial blow will this cause, a financial hit that will heighten the sagging fortunes of the company and the once coveted NHL property ?
As they say in TV, ' Stay Tuned '.
I'm Fred Wallace