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Sportsnet says it’s exploring new formats for first intermission

Click to play video 'Protestors call for Sportsnet to reinstate HNIC co-host Don Cherry' Protestors call for Sportsnet to reinstate HNIC co-host Don Cherry
WATCH: (From Nov. 13, 2019) Protestors call for Sportsnet to reinstate HNIC co-host Don Cherry

Don’t expect an immediate replacement for fired commentator Don Cherry on Coach’s Corner.

In fact, it’s possible that Sportsnet may eventually take the long-running Hockey Night in Canada segment in a different direction.

READ MORE: Here’s what you need to know about Don Cherry

“We’re taking the time to explore new formats for the first intermission,” Sportsnet communications director Andrew Garas said in an email to The Canadian Press late Friday afternoon.

Garas also confirmed that Saturday night’s first intermission will highlight the 2019 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees. The induction ceremony is Monday.

Click to play video 'Kingston mural featuring Don Cherry vandalized, while fans support him' Kingston mural featuring Don Cherry vandalized, while fans support him
Kingston mural featuring Don Cherry vandalized, while fans support him

Cherry’s nearly four-decade run on Hockey Night ended this past Monday. He made on-air comments last Saturday night which many felt were critical of immigrants for not wearing Remembrance Day poppies.

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Segment co-host Ron MacLean, who apologized last weekend, said this week he intends to address the matter on Saturday. MacLean did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

READ MORE: Don Cherry refuses to apologize for ‘you people’ rant in aftermath of poppy controversy

HNIC was a longtime CBC Saturday night staple, but the show and its games moved to Sportsnet when Rogers landed a lucrative long-term broadcast rights deal with the NHL that began in 2014. Coach’s Corner and HNIC are still broadcast on CBC in a sub-licensing deal with Rogers Media, which owns Sportsnet.

Cherry’s departure sparked much discussion among hockey fans about what the future of the popular segment might hold.

Click to play video 'The culture of hockey' The culture of hockey
The culture of hockey

The 85-year-old native of Kingston, Ont., joined HNIC in 1980 as a playoff analyst and was so popular that he was kept on as a colour commentator. CBC later created Coach’s Corner as a vehicle to showcase Cherry with MacLean eventually replacing Dave Hodge as his sidekick.

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Several candidates would be qualified to replace Cherry if Sportsnet elects to stay with the current format.

READ MORE: Why Don Cherry’s ‘you people’ rant on ‘Hockey Night in Canada’ has such an impact

Former hockey executive and current Sportsnet analyst Brian Burke is listed as the early betting favourite (+125), according to odds released this week by sportsbook Bodog.

Odds were also available for Sportsnet broadcasters Elliotte Friedman (+175), Colby Armstrong (+650), Craig Simpson (+650), Kelly Hrudey (+650) and Chris Johnston (+900).