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An Open Letter To Don Cherry


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by Rob Dundas

First off, I need to mention that I read many posts here (on facebook) and feel the same way that many of us do. I see more and more people screaming to the universe asking “Why”. “What has happened to our world? Why is there so much violence now? How has it all changed so quickly?” or even, “What is wrong with people nowadays?”

In my humble opinion it has a lot to do with social media. We all now have the ability to shoot the virtual finger at whomever the victim du jour is at our fingertips. What is worse, this “freedom” of ours comes with no repercussions.

More and more, bad actions, poor judgment calls, personal mistakes, and flat out injustices, whether they be real or assumed, are mobbed and stoned to death by a seething online horde.

Someday, when humanity finally figures out the most effective way to extinguish itself, I think that whatever or whoever discovers the footprint of our social media history, will not be very surprised that we were the masters of our own demise.

That being said, I have decided to write this “rant” as an open letter to Don Cherry.

Dear Don,

I met you years ago, back at the birth of the Mississauga Ice Dogs. You were always friendly and kind to me.

I remember the first few years of that hockey franchise. It was tough sledding. You went through a handful of coaches before getting behind the bench yourself… also tough sledding.

You brought in Jason Spezza in the second year (I believe). I went mini-putting, of all things, with him at Erin Mills Town Centre. He was a great kid. He thought highly of you and looked up to you.

I’m sure there are many, many stories that nobody has ever heard about young people you helped along the way.

I remember how much time you spent giving respect to the people in our military and our veterans. I know that meant a lot to you… Paying respect, giving shout-outs and doing remotes. It was one of your staples.

There must be many soldiers who benefited from and appreciated your efforts. I’m willing to bet that there are many instances that nobody is aware of, that you positively impacted some of these people and their families.

There are not a lot of people who can say they have done that. There are not a lot of people who have even tried to.

I remember, back in the day, going to watch Hockey Night In Canada at a bar or someone’s house. You know, we would sometimes even miss the entire first period, but at first intermission you could guarantee the volume was turned up and nobody was leaving the room for that five minutes… That happened all across the country, and that’s a fact.

Whether people agreed or disagreed with you, it always stirred conversation and I believe that was what all part of your job.

I remember the loss of Blue, and your beloved Rose and how devastated you were. I remember you showing your human side then.

I remember Rock ’em Sock ’em Hockey and the whole Cold FX fiasco… that one isn’t hitting the highlight reels.

I believe in your heart you see yourself as a relentlessly patriotic Canadian… which, in its own way, is remarkably un-Canadian.

The thing is, you kind of became the Canadian Archie Bunker. You are Don Quixote to Ron’s Sancho Panza… off doing battle with windmills thinking they are giants.

You really can’t grind on players for showboating when your job is to showboat.

You can’t compare people to dog food because of their name. (It’s funny, but it’s not nice)

You also need to know that almost all Canadians are immigrants, even the ones who serve in the military and play hockey. The truth is, almost everyone who chose to not wear a poppy, for whatever their personal reasons for being in this free country, IS an immigrant. One of the reasons I love living here is that we have that choice.

Also, the Quebecois are Canadian. You can’t suck and blow at the same time. If you love Canada, you have to include them. I happen to be a big fan of theirs and see them as an important part of our Canadian heritage and history.

I could go on about some of the buffoonery that has come out of your mouth over the decades but I really don’t want this to be a rant.

The thing is, for years a lot of people found your antics to be funny – kind of like that crazy Uncle you always wanted to have over for Christmas because you knew shit would go down. You really don’t want him to move in because it would be WAY too much, but for that one day you know that you will be amused and entertained.

Anyway, I’ll sum it up in language you can relate to.

YOU dropped the gloves first, and you of all people should know what that leads to.

I have no personal beef with you, but if I may offer some advice I would, as quickly as I could, make a public apology if I were you. Be humble, eat some crow and salvage the things that you have done that were good.

You are lucky, Canadians, even the immigrant ones, are a very forgiving people.

Sincerity goes a long way. Don’t ever forget that the only reason that you were on the air for so many years was because WE supported YOU.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Dundas

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