Hockey commentator Don Cherry sparked more controversy and a flurry of opinion on social media sites after accusing three former NHL enforcers of being "pukes" and "hypocrites" for speaking out against fighting.
Speaking on the season opener of CBC's Coach's Corner, Cherry criticized Brendan Shanahan, the National Hockey League’s vice-president of safety, for the suspensions he handed out during the pre-season. Cherry lamented that Shanahan's crackdown would prompt players to be less aggressive on the ice out of fear of hitting someone and being suspended.
Cherry also slammed those who oppose fighting, saying they had exploited the deaths of former NHLers Derek Boogard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak.
"You people that are against fighting, you should be ashamed of yourselves," Cherry said. "You took advantage of that to make your point on fighting."
But Cherry said the ones he was "really disgusted with" were former NHLers Chris Nilan, Stu Grimson and Jim Thomson, calling them a "bunch of pukes that fought before."
Cherry said Nilan, Grimson and Thomson were linking the deaths of the former NHLers to their role as fighters.
"[They say] 'Oh, the reason that they're drinking, [taking] drugs and alcoholics is because they're fighting.' You turncoats, you hypocrites," Cherry said. "There's one thing I'm not, it's a hypocrite. You guys were fighters, and now you don't want guys to make the same living you did."
But Nilan and Grimson denied they ever said that being an NHL enforcer led to substance abuse problems.