by George Gross
Controversy has followed Cherry all the way into the television booth. Last year, when it appeared the CBC might not renew his contract, thousands of e-mails and phone calls made the network brass aware that Grapes was indeed a valuable commodity when it came to the ratings.On a personal note, Don Cherry has taught me all I need to know about fashion. The man is simply a genius.
Even early in his contract with Hockey Night in Canada, the brass objected to his language and asked Ralph Mellanby, then executive producer of HNIC to drop him. Mellanby, who discovered Cherry, told his bosses: 'If you want to drop him, you might as well drop me.'
The CBC brass retreated that time, as well.
And if it hadn't, the late Harold Ballard would have gotten into the act, too. He told the CBC: 'If you fire Cherry, don't bother setting up for Saturday's broadcast at Maple Leaf Gardens."
Today, at 72, Don Cherry is looking forward to the season's first installment of Coach's Corner [...]
Everybody is in love with the new NHL hockey," Cherry said. "I'm sure that love affair will not only continue, but may intensify. If I was still coaching, I would practice only special assignments -- killing penalties and setting up power-plays. That is all that is needed."