Tag: Ron MacLean

Don and Ron

Cherry defends MacLean’s 9/11 remarks: “We think hockey players are the top people in the world”


In the wake of criticism over Ron MacLean’s 9/11 remarks — and MacLean’s subsequent clarification — Don Cherry has jumped to the defense of his longtime broadcast partner.

“I couldn’t believe it when the boss came in during the end of the second period and said people were upset,” Cherry told The Canadian Press on Thursday. “I think what happens is people don’t think as much of hockey players as we love hockey players.

“We think hockey players are the top people in the world. We think they’re tough, that’s all Ron was doing. For people to take it out of context is just unbelievable to me.”

MacLean made the 9/11 reference during the intro of Wednesday night’s Rangers-Capitals Game 6. Here’s the transcript:

“From the capital of the U.S. of A., it’s New York and Washington. The economic and political engines of America, united in the birth of the country, they’re also linked in tragedy. They were the twin targets of the coordinated attacks on 9/11. It’s crazy to compare what the emergency responders did during that time, but a spirit has to start somewhere.

…You can’t help but be struck by the players and the way they’ve played these games. They are like police officers, they are like firefighters. You can’t fight fire with ego

…The pain these men have faced, the price they keep on paying, the hearts they keep on lifting.

…We all know about the firefighters. Our worst day is their every day.”

After receiving great scorn on various social media platforms (which is weird, because social media is usually so opinion free), MacLean issued a statement not of apology, but clarification.

He then followed that statement up with more clarification to the CP:

“I think where I got caught was making the statements about 9/11, quickly saying it would be crazy to compare the work done by the first responders during that time, then I made the point still a spirit has to start somewhere. Then as they moved inside the arena I made the point watching the players in this series, I can’t help but think they are like police officers or firefighters.

“And then we cut to our first shot of a player and it was Brad Richards — a dear friend of mine — sitting there putting on his socks sort of looking laissez-faire, and I think the image of Brad looking almost disinterested coupled with the gravity of what I was talking about just cut a terrible image.”

Anyway, I think we can all agree the moral of the story is this wasn’t MacLean’s fault, and that Brad Richards needs to put on his socks more passionately.

Canadian teams are apparently upset with CBC

Don Cherry

Things aren’t all happy north of the border for executives of the Canadian teams when it comes to getting on CBC.

We’ve heard all about Brian Burke’s scuffling with Don Cherry, but according to Bruce Dowbiggin of The Globe And Mail, the Leafs aren’t the only one’s upset with Cherry and Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean. Dowbiggin explains what happened after a CBC presentation to the Board of Governors during the All-Star Game.

Following CBC’s annual presentation to the NHL board in Ottawa, Burke delivered a blistering critique of the program’s treatment of him and then-coach Ron Wilson. Other Canadian teams, including the Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators, blasted the network for the Toronto-centric nature of the program and complained about deteriorating journalistic standards.

It wasn’t just Don Cherry that had team executives upset, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk sounded off about how much coverage the Maple Leafs get on Hockey Night in Canada. Melnyk spoke… Creatively about who he was referring to.

“My issue dealt with the number of games shown on HNIC that are not Sens games and my concern about how skewed they are to another team that you can easily deduce. … I wasn’t given any concrete response.”

The Leafs bring the ratings whether they’re good or bad. When they’re good, Leafs fans tune in in droves. When they’re bad, Leafs haters come out of the woodwork. Either way, people are tuning in but according to Dowbiggin’s story, fans are tuning out when it’s time for Cherry’s segment. Are the times changing north of the border?

Burke also targets Cherry’s co-host MacLean

Ron MacLean - Hockey Night In Canada

Don Cherry isn’t just angry at Leafs GM Brian Burke for the lack of Ontario-born players on the Toronto Maple Leafs and his biggest problem with Burke might not even be the fact that he complained to Cherry’s superiors about Grapes. What might have pissed Cherry off the most is that Burke decided to also target his co-host and old friend Ron MacLean.

What’s Burke’s problem with MacLean? Apparently, in MacLean’s words, Burke “feels that I egg Grapes on.”

MacLean said that Burke went to his superiors, but he thinks Burke was trying to get them “muzzled” rather than fired. To make the situation even more bizarre, Burke decided to call MacLean up before lodging his complaint.

“He said ‘I am feeling kind of lousy doing it this way without talking to you first,’” MacLean said, referring to Burke. The Leafs GM gave MacLean the opportunity to meet with him, but MacLean turned down the offer. He also told Burke that his job was not to present the audience with “all rainbows.”

“I am not losing any sleep over it,” said MacLean. “I understand Brian is under a lot of pressure and he treats each day like it’s a hockey game. A general manager of such a major professional sports franchise should be able to handle it but it’s the way he is.”

MacLean also said that he forgives Burke. Cherry, on the other hand, might not be ready to put this all behind him.