Don Cherry's Sports Heroes

Don Cherry's Sports Heroes

by Don Cherry


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Don Cherry has become a broadcasting legend, garnering millions of fans around the world with his "Coach's Corner" segment on Hockey Night in Canada. For over a decade, Cherry also hosted the TV show Grapevine, which brought viewers up close and personal with the biggest names in sports.

Don was the interviewer and his son, Tim, produced the show. And no one in the sports world, from hockey players to boxers to curlers to umpires, turned down an invitation to appear on it. It was on that show that Don has some of his fondest memories from his many years in the biz, and, at last, in
Don Cherry's Sports Heroes, he gives us behind-the-scenes access to some of his most fascinating and revealing interviews with the all-time greats.
     Don has his signature candidness and sizzling humour in these interviews and stories. In these pages you'll find epic stories about hockey greats Maurice "Rocket" Richard, Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Gordie Howe, to name a few, and since Grapevine TV was the place to be in the sports world, you can revel in some unforgettable stories on players in other fields, too.
     Don Cherry shares with the world tales that only a true insider could know. You won't be disappointed.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385687263
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Publication date: 10/24/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

A high school dropout from Kingston, Ontario, DON CHERRY laced up with the American Hockey League's Hershey Bears in 1954 to begin what would be nearly a two-decade playing career. The 20-year-old rookie would jump to a number of minor league teams in the United States and Canada over the course of his 16 years on the ice, bringing his young family with him on more than 50 moves. After being fired from his role as Coach of the Boston Bruins in 1979, Cherry went on to coach the Colorado Rockies for one unsuccessful season. A chance appearance on Hockey Night in Canada impressed CBC officials enough for them to create a platform for the bombastic ex-player and coach. "Coach's Corner" would go on to court both controversy and high ratings, as hockey fans rushed to their televisions to take in his singular mix of game analysis, cultural commentary and playful parrying with host Ron MacLean. Cherry has parlayed his broadcast success into a line of popular videos, a chain of restaurants, a syndicated radio show and lucrative endorsements. In addition to these ventures he has spent the past few years raising funds for Rose Cherry's Home for Kids, a hospice for terminally-ill children. Named after his beloved wife, who died of cancer in June 1997, Don Cherry has passionately campaigned for the Milton, Ontario, hospice.

Read an Excerpt

It’s June 2010—the Stanley Cup finals between the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers. Ron MacLean and I have been goin’ since April 8, every other night for two months.
It’s not bad. The first two series we do out of the CBC studio in Toronto. For the semifinals and finals, we are on the road.
Our first night on the road, we’re in Philadelphia. Ron and I have a few too many pops, kind of deliberately. The playoffs remind me of when I played: you come to camp in good shape, but you all get together the first night and have a session. You’d be good all summer, and then just before camp, you ruin it.
So about ten the next morning, Ron and I are in this cab and we’re bakin’, it’s so hot. We’re in our shirts and ties because we always travel that way in the States. (People at airports think we’re detectives, as there’s usually an older cop and a young cop.) I always think my shirts look good, but they’re murder in the summer. The cab, as usual, is so small my legs are jammed up against the front seat. Why is every American cab dirty and small, with no air-conditioning and windows that don’t roll down? And, of course, I’m on the side where the sun shines through.
And the extra pops don’t help. When will we ever learn?
Folks, this is not the glamorous life everybody thinks it is. There are ticket lines at the airport. And security lines. The customs guys always seem to be ticked off about something. You get to the hotel and the rooms aren’t ready. Eventually, you unpack (I’ve got tons to unpack and Ron seems to have nothing).
So here I am, sittin’ in this hot cab, thinkin’ all these things and feelin’ sorry for myself. I look at Ron and he says, “Never mind. Just think of the twelve cold ones we’ll have on ice for after the game tonight.”
I do. Everything is right with the world.
* * *
Still in the finals. Now we’re into Chicago, and we land. We’re walking through the tunnel between O’Hare Airport and the airport hotel. As we walk along the tunnel—and we’re the only ones in it—we come to a guy with a little organ, and he’s singin’. He really sounds great.
Ron says, “Isn’t that guy a wonderful singer?” and before I can say anything, he has dropped a fiver into the guy’s hat.
I say, “You jerk. That guy’s not singing. It’s a record. That’s Sam Cooke singing. The guy is only lip-synching.”
Ron says, “You know, you’re too cynical. You should wake up to the world. There aren’t people like that. You couldn’t be more wrong.”
So about four days later, we’re on our way back. Same tunnel. Same guy. Now the guy is letting on he’s playing a violin. He sounds like Stratovarigus, or whatever his name is. I drop a fiver into his hat as a reward for being such a good con artist.
Ron gets taken every time. He never passes a guy who needs a handout, no matter what. But he definitely does get taken a lot.
For instance, we’re in Anaheim one night, and after a few pops in the bar, we’re walkin’ back to the hotel. This guy comes up to us and gives us this song and dance.
“Can you guys help me out? I’ve spent all my money on the bar, and now don’t have any money for a taxi to get home. I was wondering if you guys could help me because now I’m over the limit, and I don’t want to drive my car.”
Believe it or not, Ron bites on this one and gives the guy twenty-five bucks to get home.
I say, “Are you nuts?”
He answers, “Yes, I know. He could be lying. But what if it was true? I would never forgive myself, and I’d feel so guilty if he drove and hurt somebody.”
Hoo boy.
* * *
It’s in Philly, right between the fifth and sixth games. We go out to a bar.
Now, usually, we stay in Ron’s room at night and have a twelvepack on ice and watch TV and have a few munchies and cheese and we have a grand time. But we figured this series is going to wind up pretty soon, so the night before the sixth game, we go out to a bar for a little celebration. Believe it or not, the bartender knows all about my Bruins back when I was coachin’ them against Philly’s Broad Street Bullies. He knows everything.
I know he’s not a phony because he remembers the one game—the second game of the semifinals—that we were up 3–0 and we blew a three-goal lead, with Bobby Clarke tyin’ it up with two minutes to go. He has it all down, and he remembers how Terry O’Reilly got the winner for us in the second overtime.
Ron, who not only gives money to guys who drink too much, tips bartenders—and waitresses—like he’s paying off the national debt. This time, he tips the guy fifty bucks.
I say, “Hey, fifty bucks? What are you doing?”
He says, “Everybody’s gotta live.”
So on the way back to our hotel, we’re strollin’ along, feelin’ no pain, and we see a young guy who is really down on his luck, and he has a little dog on a piece of rope with him.
Ron says to me as we cross an intersection, “Doesn’t it break your heart to see a young fellow like that? And isn’t it wonderful how that dog loves him and sticks with him?”
So we’re halfway across the intersection by now, and I say, “Well, if you feel that way, why don’t you go back and help him out?”
I was just kiddin’. It was just a joke. He says, “I’ll do that,” and he goes back and says to the young fella. “Don’t take this the wrong way. I just want to help you out a little. I want to give you a little something to help you out, you and your dog.” And he slips him a fifty as well. What a guy! He falls for everything.

From the Hardcover edition.

Table of Contents

Foreword Bobby Orr 3

Introduction 5

Gerry Patterson 9

Wayne Gretzky 17

Joe Frazier 30

Bobby Orr 43

Tommy Knight 72

Maurice Richard 74

Ron Luciano 92

Bobby Baun 107

Gordie Howe 118

Cliff Thorburn 134

Red Storey 140

Bob Probert and Dino Ciccarelli 156

Ken Dryden 165

Doug Gilmour 192

The Show That Never Aired 201

George Plimpton 203

Gump Worsley 214

Bobby Smith 224

Danny Gallivan 227

Paul Henderson 239

The End 245

Epilogue 248

Index 253

Photo Credits and Permissions 261

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