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Don Cherry for hire

He was a better hockey coach than a player, and a better commentator than a coach. But as Don Cherry's career gained momentum, so did the controversy. Brash, outspoken and flamboyant, Cherry has the biggest mouth in hockey. It's a quality that Canadians either love, love to hate, or just hate. From his time on ice to his time on air, Don Cherry's unrestrained commentary has often landed him in hot water.

Before the hollering, headlines and high collars, Don Cherry played hockey. After years in the minors, the NHL Boston Bruins drafted Cherry and he hit the ice for the first (and only) time during a 1955 Stanley Cup playoff game. His unanticipated debut came in Game 5 against the Montreal Canadiens after a teammate was injured. Cherry later coached the Bruins, and subsequently the Colorado Rockies, but was fired from both positions two years back-to-back.

In this 1979 CBC Radio interview, Cherry discusses the reasons he got fired and says he's looking for a new job.
. Donald Stewart Cherry was born on Feb. 5, 1934 in Kingston, Ont. Passionate about hockey, Cherry quit high school and signed with the American Hockey League's Hershey (Pennsylvania) Bears in 1954. Cherry bounced around from team to team and over the course of his career played only one game in the major leagues.
. Cherry's NHL game (Bruins vs. Canadiens) was at the Montreal Forum on March 31, 1955.

. After spending 16 years as an unremarkable player, Cherry retired at the end of the 1968-69 season. In post-hockey playing life, Cherry worked in the construction industry and also tried his hand at car sales. Cherry would later admit that he was the "world's worst Cadillac salesman."

. In 1971, Cherry returned to the rink as a coach with the minor-league Rochester Americans. A slew of coaching positions followed, first for the Rochester Americans and subsequently for the Bruins and Rockies.
. Cherry did well his first season with the Bruins (1975-76). The team finished in first place, and he was named NHL coach of the year.
. In the same season, Cherry was named assistant coach for Team Canada.

. But Cherry's career plummeted in 1979 when he was fired from the Bruins for having too many men on the ice during a Stanley Cup semifinal.
. The Colorado Rockies hired him on as coach for 1979-80. They terminated his contract at the end of the season after the team placed last in the league. It was the end of his NHL coaching career.

. In 1956, Cherry married Rosemarie (Rose) Madelyn Martini. They raised two children, Cindy and Tim.
. In June 1997, Rose passed away following a battle with liver cancer. Don Cherry opened "Rose Cherry's Home for Kids," a pediatric facility for families who have children with life-threatening illness.

. In 1998, Cherry bought the Mississauga Ice Dogs after persuading the city to expand the team into the Ontario Hockey League. From 1998 to 2002, the team finished last in the OHL.
. Cherry decided to take over as coach of the Ice Dogs for the 2002-03 season. In June of that year, the Ice Dogs were sold to Nick Ricci, a former NHL goalie.
. The team's game improved during the 2003-04 season. They finished second in the OHL's Central division.
Medium: Radio
Program: As It Happens
Broadcast Date: May 28, 1979
Guest(s): Dick Beddoes, Don Cherry
Host: Jeff Carruthers
Duration: 8:43

Last updated: June 18, 2013

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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