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Don Cherry’s comments speak to the history of hockey and Canadian identity

Don Cherry’s comments speak to the history of hockey and Canadian identity 

Don Cherry’s role as national hockey oracle is over. After a three-decade-plus run as host of Coach’s Corner, a beloved 1st intermission segment on Canada’s most watched TV show, Sportsnet and the former NHL head coach are parting ways. This comes on the heels of Cherry’s impassioned Saturday night rant chastising Canadians, new and old, for not honoring Canada’s veterans by wearing symbolic poppies. It’s fair to say that Cherry’s choice of words, specifically “you people,” were bluntly delivered and any chance to clear up the confusion went by the wayside with Cherry doubling down on his intention and meaning.

Unlike the 2019 Canadian Federal election, Canadians are actually fired up about this. Those on all sides of the issue have flooded social media, radio call-in shows, and newspaper and web pages, covering all sides of the issue. If you don’t think hockey has a valuable role in dictating and projecting Canadian national identity, this is your lesson. You cannot find anybody in the country not discussing Cherry in one way or another. But what you haven’t seen is a historical understanding of why hockey matters so much, and specifically it’s relation to Canadian identity. It’s that story that I want to share, as I think it will help illuminate why Canadians of all stripes are burning up over Cherry once again.

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