June 5, 2007, - 12:46 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Last night, in a smart move by NBC, my absolute favorite famous Canadian–Don Cherry–graced the airwaves in prime-time National Hockey League play-offs.
It was the first time that Cherry did color commentary on American TV. And hopefully, it won’t be the last. Canadians love to hate him. And I just love him.
As a Detroit-area resident who’s become familiar with Cherry from his regular perch on Canada’s CBC Hockey coverage in “Coach’s Corner” on “Hockey Night in Canada,” I’m an enthusiastic Cherry fan. Dapper Don–whose trademark is a wardrobe of flashy sartorial splendor–because he’s an entertaining and a conservative and not afraid to show it. And he has a sense of humor and a flair for the blunt. Cherry is the most exciting sports commentator on television because he doesn’t mince words and refuses to be PC. And he loves America. In a country (Canada) where even the “Conservative” Party is liberal, Don Cherry is a conservative in the Reagan tradition.
When Canadian hockey fans booed Americans after the start of the Iraq war, Dapper Don told them off and spoke of the greatness of America and its soldiers and what a great friend American has been to Canadians. Cherry’s not afraid to point out the wimpishness of Europeans–through hockey–citing their use of visors and helmets while starting fights that injure others. And, like me, he thinks the NHL was stupid to take the fighting, the masculinity, out of hockey.
Last night–in a welcome respite from PBS’ anti-Israel special on the Six Day War–Cherry said (among other things):
Hey, America, hey, NHL, don’t be stupid. Put the fighting back in hockey. I have to laugh . . . I’m told the reason they cut it down was because they wanted USA people to watch. Can you believe that? That is the dumbest thing I ever heard in my life.
The NHL, NBC, and everyone in U.S. television are making a big mistake. We should go back to rock ‘em, sock ‘em. It would help the game and help your audiences.
Even in Cherry’s uncharacteristically hoarse voice, last night, he was exciting and interesting to watch and listen to, as always. (Unfortunately, he was paired with thug and spoiled brat Brett Hull.)
If only we could keep Don Cherry, and send Canada one of our “treasures” . . . like Rosie O’Donnell, Sean Penn, or Michael Moore. I think that’s a fair import-export deal.
Tags: America, Brett Hull, Canada, coach, Dapper Don, Debbie Schlussel Last, Detroit, Don Cherry, hockey, Hockey Night in Canada, Iraq, Israel, Michael Moore, National Hockey League, NBC, NHL, Rosie O'Donnell, Sean Penn, sports commentator, United States