Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean addressed Sportsnet’s firing of Don Cherry during the first intermission of Saturday night’s primetime NHL game — when the duo would normally host “Coach’s Corner.”
MacLean addressed Cherry’s Nov. 9 remarks and the ensuing controversy in a rambling speech, touching on his relationship with Cherry and his decision to go with conviction over friendship.
“Coach’s Corner is no more,” the 59-year-old MacLean said. “We are all hurting, I have collapsed a 100 times this week, if not more. We are all disappointed. Bobby Orr is disappointed in me. Bobby, I’m disappointed in me.
WATCH: Ron Maclean delivers emotional monologue on the end of Coach’s Corner:
“I’ve sat all week long reflecting listening to you [the viewer] and I have heard you. I’ve reflected by listening to my own heart…and I’ve struggled mightily to find the words.”
Cherry’s nearly four-decade run on Hockey Night ended Monday after he made on-air comments last Saturday which many felt were critical of immigrants for not wearing Remembrance Day poppies.
“You people … 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 on Nov. 9. “These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”
MacLean apologized last Sunday for Cherry’s remarks.
WATCH: Ron MacLean addresses Don Cherry’s ‘hurtful’ remarks:
On Tuesday, Cherry told CBC News that he sees how he could have made his point differently.
“I think it was a mistake,” he said of his remarks. “But I think the big thing was that I should have said ‘everybody’ — that was the big, big thing.”
WATCH: Don Cherry says he regrets his choice of words:
Cherry added that his many good deeds — he mentioned helping Montreal Canadiens forward Max Domi with the launch of his book on growing up with diabetes — were being overshadowed by his word choice.
“Not a word was said about that, but you used two words and that’s where it goes,” said Cherry.
Sportsnet is part of Rogers Media, a subsidiary of Rogers Communications, which is in the sixth year of a 12-year, $5.2-billion deal with the NHL. The agreement included a sub-licensing deal to allow the CBC to air Hockey Night in Canada.