Few Canadians are as iconic as Don Cherry, but there’s still much Canadians don’t know about one of the nation’s most famous sons. It’s for this reason that, for your reading pleasure, this blog proudly presents five of the least known facts about Don Cherry’s legendary life.
I. Don Cherry started his career in basketball
Believe it or not, the voice of Hockey Night in Canada started his career in basketball. Cherry would often frustrate his coaches with his insistence of not only never touching the ball, but only propelling it forward with a hockey stick. After hopping teams at least four different times, and on the verge of quitting his budding career as an athlete altogether did Cherry do some serious soul searching and realize his talents would be best suited to hockey. He would go on to play professionally for many years before achieving even greater fame as a commentator.
II. Don Cherry and Ron MacLean met well before Hockey Night in Canada
While most people know the two for their famous back and forth banter throughout the years as hosts of Hockey Night in Canada, Don Cherry and Ron MacLean had actually known one another for many years prior. During the late 70s the two, who were at this point both struggling financially, would often tour major Canadian cities in “stick fights”, in which they would pummel each other with hockey sticks while onlookers would pay to watch. It is said that neither could gain the upper hand in these bouts, cultivating a sort of mystique which persists to this day.
III. Don Cherry handpicks every pill of Cold-fX from his farm outside Kingston
While well known among Canadians for his promotion of the popular anti-cold medication Cold-fX, Cherry’s commitment to the product goes well mere advertisement, growing and handpicking every pill from his farm on the outskirts of his hometown of Kingston, Ontario. Allegedly, those pills that don’t make the cut are sent to his chain of sports bars, to be grinded down and used as filler.
IV. Don Cherry isn’t just one person, but a succession of people
In what is probably the most shocking fact about Cherry’s life, the Don Cherry you see today is not the same Don Cherry you may have seen in the 80s, and that Don Cherry is in turn not the same one from the 90s. Most Don Cherrys only live about 10 years before they die – they are then replaced with as similar as possible a Don Cherry from a Don Cherry litter, and are all aptly named Don Cherry. In fact, one can often hear the entire litter fighting and yelling about hockey from well outside their home during childhood – after a successor Don Cherry has been named, those not chosen are used to toughen up NHL players by hounding them for months on end, constantly looking to fight.
V. While Don Cherry is iconic, it must be remembered that Don Cherry is not a pet
This last fact serves is also a warning – while many Canadians love Don Cherry, it must always be remembered that his home is in the wild, not in one’s house. If you see a Don Cherry in the wild, it’s important to a) not feed him, lest he get too accustomed to contact with other people, and b) do not try to lure it with promises of a good hockey game. The World Wildlife Fund estimates that upwards of 3000 Don Cherrys are kept as pets illegally in North America alone. Not only is this very dangerous to any pinko in sight, but this prevents the Don Cherry from living its true life in the wild, fighting other wildlife for eggs and foraging for nuts and mushrooms. If you spot a Don Cherry in an urban area, remember to call the local authorities – never take matters into your own hands.