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Don Cherry issues a rare apology for 'pukes' comment

Ron MacLean, right, and Don Cherry of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada entertain the crowd at the Robert French Memorial Stadium in Conception Bay South, N.L., prior to the Kraft Hockeyville 2011 competition on Sept.24, 2011. MacLean says Cherry is being treated unfairly over his season-opening "Coach's Corner" blast against a trio of former enforcers and their take on fighting. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly

Paul Daly/CP

The latest twist in the Don Cherry controversy saw him do something he rarely, if ever, has done before – apologize and admit he was wrong.

Cherry apologized to three former NHL enforcers, Chris Nilan, Stu Grimson and Jim Thomson, for using inflammatory terms in criticizing their beliefs that fighting should be banned by the NHL. He said they were hypocrites for not only calling for a ban on something they all once made their living with but also for linking the job of an NHL fighter to depression and substance abuse.

"I was 100-per-cent wrong," Cherry said on his Coach's Corner segment Saturday night on the CBC's Hockey Night In Canada. "When you are wrong, you have to admit it."

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His original remarks on Hockey Night In Canada on the opening night of the NHL season set off yet another controversy involving Cherry that caught the attention of fans across North America. In his second appearance on the CBC show, on Oct. 8, Cherry offered a lukewarm apology for the names he called the three players but insisted he was not wrong in his views.

However, Nilan, Grimson and Thomson demanded a public apology. They issued a statement through a Nashville law firm where Grimson works that said, "In light of the damaging and inflammatory nature of Mr. Cherry's comments, Messrs. Grimson, Nilan and Thomson are considering further recourse."

Shortly after Cherry issued his apology and retraction, Nilan thanked him through Twitter. "I want to thank Don Cherry for standing up and making a public apology to the [three]of us. Means a lot. We are friends once again," Nilan posted on Twitter.

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