NHL

Cherry's apology accepted by ex-enforcers

A group of retired NHL enforcers say they will not pursue legal action against Don Cherry after the Hockey Night in Canada commentator apologized for remarks he made recently about them.
Don Cherry apologized Saturday for comments he made about former NHL enforcers Stu Grimson, Chris Nilan and Jim Thomson. (Bruce Bennett/Getty)

A group of retired NHL enforcers say they will not pursue legal action against Don Cherry after the Hockey Night in Canada commentator apologized for remarks he made recently about them.

A Nashville law firm released a statement Sunday on behalf of Stu Grimson, Chris Nilan and Jim Thomson, saying the ex-players "appreciate the words Mr. Cherry used and that the apology is accepted."

The statement closed with: "Messrs. Grimson, Nilan and Thomson wish to state that they do not intend to pursue [legal] recourse, as a group."

Grimson, who works for the firm that sent out the statement, issued a separate release in which he said, "As far as I'm concerned, this disagreement is now settled as between Mr. Cherry and me.… I have no present intention of pursuing a cause of action against Mr. Cherry."

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There had been speculation that Grimson, Nilan and Thomson would take action against Cherry after comments he made during the Oct. 6 edition of his popular Coach's Corner intermission segment on Hockey Night in Canada. Cherry called Nilan, Grimson and Thomson "pukes" and "turncoats" for speaking out against fighting in hockey.

On Saturday night, Cherry opened Coach's Corner by admitting he erred.

"I gotta admit I was wrong on a lot of things," Cherry said. "Three enforcers, tough guys, my type of guys, I threw them under the bus, and I'm sorry about it. I really am."

Cherry also apologized for suggesting that Nilan and Grimson had linked their struggles with substance abuse to the violent nature of their former jobs, and for claiming that those players had said they wanted fighting banned from hockey.

"Chris and Stu never said that they took drugs because they were enforcers in the National Hockey League," Cherry said. "Also, they never said they wanted fighting out of the game, that's for sure.

"I was wrong on that, 100 per cent wrong. And when you're wrong, you have to admit it."

Nilan later tweeted his thanks to Cherry.

"I want to thank Don Cherry for standing up and making a public apology to the three of us," Nilan posted on his Twitter account. "Means a lot. We are friends once again."