Bobby Orr is pictured in a Toronto hotel room as he promotes his new book "Bobby: My Story in Pictures," on Monday, October 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Bobby Orr defends Don Cherry, rips Sportsnet for decision to fire commentator

‘I know Grapes better than anybody,’ Orr says

Legendary defenceman Bobby Orr has blasted Sportsnet for firing Don Cherry.

In an interview with Boston radio station WEEI on Thursday, Orr called the decision to sack his former Bruins coach ”disgraceful.”

“I know Grapes better than anybody,” Orr said. “He’s not a bigot and he’s not a racist. This guy is the most generous, caring guy that I know. What they’ve done to him up there is disgraceful, it really is. It’s a new world I guess. Freedom of speech doesn’t matter.”

Sportsnet fired Cherry on Monday following his comments on “Hockey Night in Canada,” which many felt were critical of immigrants for not wearing Remembrance Day poppies.

“You people that come here, whatever it is, you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that,” Cherry said last Saturday on his “Coach’s Corner” segment. “These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”

Cherry has denied he was singling out visible minorities.

Orr said he has talked to Cherry every day since the firing.

READ MORE: Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

“He’s getting some nice calls from his friends here in Boston,” Orr said. “He is getting some wonderful support. He’s hurt, but he’s going to be fine.”

Sportsnet has not announced its plans for the “Coach’s Corner” segment. A message left with co-host Ron MacLean was not immediately returned.

The first “Hockey Night in Canada” since the firing is Saturday night.

Orr and Cherry have had a long connection, dating back to their days with the Bruins in the mid-1970s.

The two have been regulars at the Canadian Hockey League’s annual top prospects game since its inception in 1996, with the teams usually called “Team Orr” and “Team Cherry.”

Cherry’s name was mentioned in the March 2019 press release announcing the 2020 event. A CHL spokesman said in an email this week that coaches and rosters were still being reviewed for the Jan. 16 game in Hamilton, Ont.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Overall house sales drop in the northwest

COVID-19 pandemic slowed market activity

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read