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CHLPA Responds To Don Cherry’s Reckless & Misleading Comments On CHL Class Action Lawsuit

“What worries me is the judge isn’t in the hockey world” -Don Cherry

Even Ron McClean couldn’t hold back his expression of disbelief on his face after Cherry made this and other ridiculous comments.

Don Cherry took to Rogers Sportsnet’s airwaves on Coaches Corner this week and began commenting on the CHL class action lawsuit brought on by CHL players against the CHL and it’s member teams.

You can read Cherry’s ignorant rant here or watch the last minute of the video of Coaches Corner below.

Some of Cherry’s comments are so ridiculous that we feel it is our responsibility to set the record straight and fill Mr Cherry in on some of the facts that he is certainly more than aware of since he has owned a CHL team not so long ago.

For starters, Cherry voiced his concern saying “What worries me is that the judge isn’t in the hockey world, “If they ever have this class action suit, if it ever comes through, it will close at least half (of the major junior hockey teams).

Let’s revisit that incredibly stupid comment by Old Man Cherry about the judge not being “in the hockey world.”

The judge lives in Canada, everyone in Canada has no choice but to be “in the hockey world” since hockey is shoved down Canadians throats on every street corner in the country.

To add to his stupidity, for Cherry to suggest that a long standing, competent judge in the Canadian court system should not have the right to rule on Hockey is astonishing.

What’s even more astonishing is that Rogers Sportsnet actually pays Cherry a massive salary for him to voice his ignoramus comments and mislead the public on live national TV.

Justice Perrell who has certified the class action lawsuit against the OHL has a career in the legal world as a judge who rules and makes judgements on almost any industry that enters his court room and has been doing so for the past 12 years since he was appointed to Ontario superior court in 2005. For example, these are two hypothetical examples I am using to make my point. Justice Perrell may have at one time over seen lawsuits with General Motors or with Kraft Foods, but it doesn’t mean that Justice Perrell needs to be a mechanic or car salesman in order to make a ruling for or against GM and it certainly doesn’t mean that Justice Perrell needs to be a chef in order to make a ruling concerning Kraft Foods.

Cherry goes on in his rant to suggest that the OHL teams are cash strapped and cannot afford to pay minimum wage. “There’s about nine teams making money right now that I know of. The rest have to fold.” 

Now surely being a former CHL team owner, Cherry is extremely familiar with how the cash flows in and out of CHL teams and owners pockets. To suggest that only 9 teams make money in the OHL is completely false and to be honest, nobody believes this story anymore, especially since the financial records of the OHL teams became public. Most people didn’t believe it before the records went public, but now that they are, Cherry’s cries are falling on deaf ears and rightfully so.

Cherry further went on to try and intimidate and scare current and future potential junior hockey players who might climb their way through the ranks, using the same threats and intimidation tactics that the CHL has been using to try and scare their players. “That means no more scholarships, no place for anyone to go,” said Cherry. “This is absolutely ridiculous. 

Why is it that Cherry’s first threat is that the CHL will take away education from the players? Why are they going after education instead of looking elsewhere to recoup the modest amount of money needed to pay players a minimum wage.

Protecting players’ rights to a minimum wage not only ensures that players receive a fair wage, it’s so much more than that. It more importantly protects players when they are injured. Hockey is an extremely dangerous occupation. You can ask WHL owners, they’ll tell you. In fact one of them had no problem stating this very fact to government elected officials when he was lobbying them to change existing child labour laws specifically for the WHL and his franchise.

Protecting the rights of players’ minimum wage ensures that when a player gets injured he has recourse to fall back on just the same way that any other employee on any other work force is awarded and has available to them.

Let’s see what other incredibly ignorant statements Old Man Cherry made.  “It’s the best players in the world. They pay for all your equipment, they give you money, they give you billets, sticks are $1,000 right now. If this ever goes through it will kill hockey.”

Even Ron McLean had to bow out gracefully, lowering his head after Cherry’s $1000 stick comment.

Since they are “the best players in the world” as Cherry claims them to be, shouldn’t they atleast be compensated accordingly for being “the best players in the world”?

Furthermore, $1000 hockey sticks don’t exist unless it belonged to the Sultan of Brunei and was made of gold. This exageration of stick costs is made only to mislead the public about what the players receive from their teams in lieu of minimum wage. It’s disgraceful actually that he’d resort to the level he went to, embarrassing himself with such a ridiculous statement. It’s exaggerated to mislead the public, something Mr Cherry and the CHL are no strangers to. Cherry goes on further to scare Canadians by suggesting that if this lawsuit, aimed to protect the rights of hockey players, goes through, “it will kill hockey.”

Now how idiotic is that statement by Cherry? Hockey isn’t going anywhere. Hockey will be alive and well and better than ever once the CHL cronies are forced to protect and give their players better conditions to work under.

Cherry should be completely ashamed of himself for these ridiculous and misleading comments he’s making over the public airwaves and we’re not afraid to call him out on any of it.

Let’s recap.

Cherry’s concern that the judge who is overseeing the lawsuit “isn’t in the hockey world” is as ridiculous as his mafia looking suits that he wears. (By the way, Cherry’s suit design novelty wore itself thin about 20 years ago.)

Cherry says that the lawsuit will cause teams to close up shop. If this is true it would only be because team owners are greedy and want more money for themselves and aren’t interested in parting with their money with the players of the league in a law abiding way. Basically, if CHL team owners are forced to operate in a lawful manner, they’re simply not interested in operating at all.

Cherry says there are about 9 teams that make money and the rest would have to fold. If what he is saying is true, which it is not true, but let’s pretend for a minute that it is true, teams are more than capable of stepping up their marketing game in an effort to generate more revenue to offset the costs of paying their players. For some reason this doesn’t seem to be an option in Cherry’s mind, or in the minds of CHL executives.

Cherry helps the CHL out by voicing his threats on national TV in front of his loyal viewers during the NHL playoffs, threatening that scholarship packages will be taken away from the players if the lawsuit is successful. How big of a coward do you have to be to resort to such disgusting tactics in order for his friends and colleagues to continue to exploit children.

Cherry had no problem exploiting children for financial gain when he owned the Mississauga Ice Dogs up until 2002 when he sold the team that was relocated to Niagara. There’s no doubt that he done his fair share of intimidating the players during his years owning a CHL team since he’s still aiming to do so on national TV.

Bottom line here is that Old Man Cherry and his pedestal have been promoting violence in hockey for far too long. Cherry is a major factor when it comes to violence in hockey. He promotes it, endorses it, sells it, profits from it and encourages it. Cherry has no problem watching young hockey players being taken advantage of just as long as he can reap the benefits as well.