Hockey Night in Canada icon Don Cherry met with The Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle in a small boardroom under a Toronto office tower earlier this week to discuss the lockout, Twitter, the Hockey Hall of Fame, the rising cost of minor hockey and whether or not he’s slowing down with his 80th birthday not that far away.
Here are the highlights of their conversation:
JM: First of all, what did you think of the Hall of Fame class this week, Don? You’ve been pretty outspoken about some of the selections in the past.
DC: I think this is the first time in a long time that I’ve agreed with every one. You can’t argue with any of them. Sometimes you get some guy and it’s oh how did he get in?
Nobody can disagree with the guys that they put in there now. They’re 100 per cent.
JM: Are there still a few people who you want to see in there who don’t seem to make it?
DC: Pat Burns, it’s an absolute shame they didn’t do it. I’m ashamed they didn’t do it while he was alive. He’s won coach of the year in three different cities, Stanley Cup, there’s nobody that’s done anything more. The players loved him.
The other one is Paul Henderson. Because he had the most important goal [in the ’72 Summit Series] and all that.
Another one that I think should get it, but he’ll never get it because he’s like me, he’s a right winger and he causes [trouble], is Dale Hunter. This guy, the record he’s got and the way he’s done it? You could even do it [induct him] as a builder!
But I asked him, do you think you’ll ever get in, and he said no. I said how come? He said I’m not their kind. That’s why he’s not getting in. That’s why Dino Ciccarelli had such a tough time - here’s a guy with 2,000 goals almost. He had a tough time and paid his dues because of the stick swinging and all of that.
JM: So you feel you won’t get in because you’re an outsider?
DC: Oh yeah! I’m like Dale. I’m not their type. But that’s okay, I’m fine. Honestly, I swear to God, you got to believe it, it doesn’t bother me at all. I know it bothers somebody. A lot of people. In fact stuff was in the Sun today.
Guys like me never get that stuff. You got to tow the line pretty good and I don’t toe the line.
JM: I believe I saw you were just on Twitter (@CoachsCornerCBC), talking about being stung by bees in your backyard. Seems like you’ve been more active lately, too, during the lockout. What do you think of Twitter?
DC: Well, nobody knows why I’m on Twitter. But what happened was, about five guys had my name out there, using my name as Twitter. So, CBC, they said we’ve got to protect ourselves. So we want you in the playoffs to start a Twitter. And I was ‘Come on, are you kidding?’ I thought Twitter was for birds to tell you the truth.
They said, we’ve got to do it to protect you. Because these guys say something and people think you said it. So I started and I had a friend [help]. Kathy Broderick, she runs CBC as far as I’m concerned. She helps me on Coach’s Corner.
So what I do is I phone in if I see something that bothers me. She takes care of it. She does the typing and all of that because I couldn’t do all that. I did one with Dallas Eakins [in it] over Kadri and he said ‘he probably has somebody type it for him.’ Pretty true! It was a shot. Yeah, it was a good one.
JM: Do you ever read what fans are writing back to you there?
DC: Somebody told me it’s over 90,000 [followers] now. No, I just do it. I’m sure there are some negative things, but I don’t need that! I just do it.
And I really have come to enjoy it, which I never thought. I kind of got into it. I say different things now... I know I had some stuff that kind of upset a lot of people with the lockout. I can’t remember what it was.