In an article designed to stir up controversy over aid to Haiti, Kathy Shaidle provides a neat thumbnail portrait of Don Cherry:
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) says taxpayers must keep funding this great unwatched billion-dollar behemoth because the network has a never-hear-the-end-of-it “mandate” to “reflect Canadian values.”
Which “the Corpse” does indeed, but for just about nine minutes every Saturday night, and only during hockey season, and by accident rather than design.
That’s when Don Cherry’s red light goes on and the former Boston Bruins coach begins bellowing about the fruitcakes and foreigners destroying his beloved game.
He’s old, white, loud, and uneducated. He’s bigoted, mawkishly patriotic, and he dresses like an Edwardian time traveler stuck in 1970s Detroit trying to pass himself off as a pimp — and Don Cherry’s Coach’s Corner has also been the CBC’s highest rated… thing for generations. It’s not even a show, you see, just a segment — possibly the only “intermission” in history that prompts people to run to their seats instead of away from them.
By lucky chance, “shhhh!” is the same “word” in both official languages, and that’s the sound heard in sports bars and rec rooms across Quebec and the ROC (Rest of Canada) as the show’s familiar intro gallops into millions of ears.
To the countless Canucks who can’t stand him, however, Cherry is a perpetual outrage machine. The coach doesn’t make “Kinsley gaffes,” either — those “controversial” statements which accidentally reveal some embarrassing truth. Cherry tells embarrassing truths on purpose. His only “crime” is saying things lots of his countrymen agree with but aren’t allowed to say — or even let themselves think — anymore.