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Hockey commentator and former coach Don Cherry looks on during the 2011 CHL/NHL top prospects skills competition in Toronto, January 18, 2011.    (Reuters)

Hockey commentator and former coach Don Cherry looks on during the 2011 CHL/NHL top prospects skills competition in Toronto, January 18, 2011.   


A Q&A with Grapes: Don Cherry on lockouts, life and why he’ll never get into the Hockey Hall of Fame Add to ...

I went about 22 years and nobody knew I was alive when I played. I get a kick out of it. Fortunately for me. And everybody’s nice. I think because I’m so aggressive [on TV] that people don’t say anything to me.

JM: So you’ll be 79 in February here and 80 isn’t far behind. Is there a big party coming?

DC: No, I don’t even think about it. I did a radio show this morning and the guy asked me how old I am. Everybody asks that.

Funny thing is though, I always used to when I was young see guys that were old. But I remember my Dad saying ‘as you are now, so is he, as he is now, so should you be.’

[This is a variation on the well known saying: “As you are now,so once was I. As I am now,so you must be.”]

Sometimes I’m with somebody and they say ‘geez he’s an old guy, he’s 72. He’s already in his 70s.’ I’m sitting there. Pretty funny. The guy doesn’t even think what he’s saying.

As long as it’s fun. I’m very, very fortunate that I have a wife [Luba] that really looks after me. Because if I didn’t, I’ve got so many things going, I would get lost.

I don’t have a cell phone and I don’t do the iPods and all that stuff. I have no idea. MacLean does. He’s good.

[My wife] does all that [organizing] for me. If I didn’t have a good partner, I’d have to retire. But I just show up and do it. She’s got it all mapped out what I have to do.

JM: What don’t people know about Don Cherry?

DC: I’ll tell you a funny thing - we live in a little wee house in Mississauga. And when the kids come for Hallowe’en, I think it’s so cute. The kids, they know me and think I’m rich, they say ‘hey Don Cherry, you live here?!’ A lot of them don’t know I’m right there.

I’ve stayed in the same area. My son lives right across the street from me. And so does my daughter. We have a little compound there. So we see them all the time.

JM: Do you still have a dog? I mentioned to a few friends we were chatting today and they wanted to know about Blue.

DC: Still have him. No. 4, I think. He’s about three now. I lost my love of my life about three years ago and life hasn’t been the same since.

JM: Here’s one Mrs. Mirtle wanted me to ask you: What do you put on your face to make your skin look so good?

DC: It’s funny you say that! I use cocoa butter. I started it when I was playing; I had a lot of cuts. I have about 200, 300 cuts [on my face]. A guy named Andy Branigan [from his minor league team in Hershey] says get a little cocoa butter.

It was Hershey, too, so they had them. Get it and rub it on all your scars and they’ll go away eventually. But you’ve got to keep it moist. And take the stitches out early. So I thought that was good.

So every day, I use cocoa butter on my face all the time. When they’re putting makeup on [for Coach’s Corner], they say ‘have you ever got nice skin.’ So there’s a tip for all the women. Put cocoa butter on. It covers up your scars, too.

You can get it at Shoppers Drug Mart. It’s called Palmers. Put a little squeeze on before I go to bed at night. It really softens your skin.

The guys who are working on the jackhammer now are saying ‘he’s gone a little funny!’ I didn’t tell anybody that, but you asked, so I told you.

JM: Here’s another one: I’m curious - did you ever try to play beer league hockey after you retired in 1972?

DC: No, I couldn’t. I never did. Well, I tried when I was in Colorado [as a coach]. I was one of those guys, when I played, I couldn’t let a guy go around me. But when you play old-timers, you’ve got to let a guy go around you. I couldn’t stand it. I played so long. To have a guy go around me, even playing old-time, was an insult. I had to stop.

I was getting too chippy with the other players. I had to stop. I played long enough. Sixteen years. I was a pretty good skater after and I played forward. But I didn’t enjoy it. So I said I’m going to get out of it.

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