Bettman comes to Don Cherry’s rescue
This morning in Toronto, a happy NHL commissioner Gary Bettman trumpeted a “historic and forward-looking” -- not to mention, $5.232 billion (Canadian) -- TV deal with Rogers Communications.
The new deal features a sub-licensing agreement with CBC that will keep Hockey Night in Canada on the air up north.
But after an internal CBC memo was leaked -- a memo that showed that Rogers would assume “all editorial control” of HNIC -- hockey fans were not surprisingly wondering about the future of one Don Cherry.
They were wondering even more when Keith Pelley, president of Rogers Media, danced around a direct question about Cherry’s future.
Cue Bettman to the rescue:
Bettman: "Don Cherry is a great talent and a good friend." Doesn't want noncommittal comment to come off a sword of Damocles.— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) November 26, 2013
Cherry has said repeatedly he has no plans to retire. And just because CBC will no longer have editorial control doesn’t mean he’ll be forced out when the new deal goes into effect next season.
All broadcast talent -- Don Cherry included -- can appear on all networks.— Hockey Central (@SNHockeyCentral) November 26, 2013
That said, Cherry will turn 80 in February. If anything, that should be the reason people wonder how much longer he plans to keep sharing his opinions on TV.