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Rick Zamperin: Don Cherry may be gone, but he’s also irreplaceable

Sportsnet fired Don Cherry after the veteran hockey commentator called new immigrants "you people" on his "Coach's Corner" segment while claiming they do not wear poppies to honour Canadian veterans.
Sportsnet fired Don Cherry after the veteran hockey commentator called new immigrants "you people" on his "Coach's Corner" segment while claiming they do not wear poppies to honour Canadian veterans. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese, File

There is only one Donald S. Cherry, and there should only be one Coach’s Corner.

Days after Rogers Sportsnet announced that Cherry was fired, some are wondering if Hockey Night in Canada’s Coach’s Corner will live on with someone else headlining the popular first-intermission feature.

The 85-year-old Cherry was let go Monday after criticizing newcomers to Canada for not wearing poppies and supporting Canadian veterans.

In an interview with Global News on Tuesday, Cherry said if he could do it again, he would have chosen different words.

Click to play video 'Don Cherry says he regrets using ‘you people’; says ‘silent majority’ of Canadians support him' Don Cherry says he regrets using ‘you people’; says ‘silent majority’ of Canadians support him
Don Cherry says he regrets using ‘you people’; says ‘silent majority’ of Canadians support him – Nov 12, 2019

Cherry adds that he doesn’t have any immediate plans and jokes that he’s figuring out what he’s going to do with all his jackets.

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Sportsnet has not said whether it plans to keep “Coach’s Corner”. My advice? It shouldn’t.

READ MORE: Don Cherry defends Hockey Night in Canada comments but says he would have ‘used different words’

The website SportsBettingDime.com has released odds on candidates to replace Cherry and former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager, and current Sportsnet analyst, Brian Burke is the top choice at 3-2.

Sportsnet hockey commentators Kelly Hrudey and Colby Armstrong are next on the list at 7-1.

READ MORE: Don Cherry’s comments weren’t ‘hate speech,’ but employees can still be fired for being ‘hateful’: legal experts

Craig Simpson (19-1), Elliotte Friedman (33-1), any female (35-1), Cassie Campbell-Pascall (40-1), a member of Punjabi broadcast (99-1), a non-Canadian citizen (200-1) and a European (300-1) are listed as longshots.

The fact of the matter is that Grapes simply can’t be duplicated, so the network shouldn’t even try it.

Its only option is to create something new and engaging. Easier said than done.

Click to play video '‘We were wrong:’ Ron MacLean apologizes for Don Cherry’s comments on Hockey Night in Canada' ‘We were wrong:’ Ron MacLean apologizes for Don Cherry’s comments on Hockey Night in Canada
‘We were wrong:’ Ron MacLean apologizes for Don Cherry’s comments on Hockey Night in Canada – Nov 10, 2019