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

Single lane traffic for Bella Vista in Vernon next week

Work planned for Monday, Wednesday to complete utility installation

Lake Country traffic bottleneck solution still lacks funding

No money committed yet but province will unveil solution options for Highway 97- Beaver Lake Road-Glenmore Road intersection this fall

COVID-19: Vernon Towne Cinema back in action!

Movie lovers rejoice, the historic theatre has reopened with safety protocols in place

Former Vernon Viper recognized for ALS fundraising

Coldstream’s Aaron Volpatti raised more than $27,000 competing in an Ironman triathlon last summer

Vernon shutterbugs capture rainbow

A rain event July 9 made way for a glorious sight

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Summerland Blossom Youth Ambassador Program to hold coronation

Event will be held by video as a result of COVID-19 precautions

Pooch abandoned at Penticton doggy daycare suffered from oral disease

A fundraiser for Okie held by the BC SPCA surpassed its goal of $1,700

Couple shaken up after homophobic encounter at Kelowna mall

‘We’re not in the States; we’re not in some little hick town; we’re in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. And it still happens’

Summerland to allow in-person attendance at July 13 council meetings

Two meetings will be held at Summerland Arena Banquet Room to accommodate public

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

Most Read