Don Cherry Has A Right To Be Mad

How the worm has turned. The hockey icon says Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk should move his team out of town … perhaps to Quebec City.

For those of us who remember the financial problems surrounding the Bryden years, Cherry accepted the honourary chairman post on the Hockey Is Canadian task force that fought to keep Canadian teams in Canada … particularly the Senators.

So Cherry has shown a lot of support for Ottawa hockey. As a reporter, I found Cherry very accommodating and accessible when it came to interviews. Despite his television persona, Cherry in person is a hell of a nice guy. He’s the kind of person with whom you would like to go for a beer with on Saturday except he works those nights.

But Cherry doesn’t like the #melnykout campaign. Melnyk has poured at least $100 million of pocket change into the team to keep it operating. And he has been very good about paying competitive salaries to a team that has got to the finals once under his stewardship and was a shot away from those finals last year. He has put solid teams on the ice.

As well the Sens owner is willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to put a new arena on LeBreton Flats.

And for this, Melnyk gets #melnykout. Not good.

Here’s Cherry from last Saturday:



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9 thoughts on “Don Cherry Has A Right To Be Mad

  1. First, I don’t think all hockey fans in Ottawa are unhappy with Eugene Melnyk.
    It’s just unfortunate that they are the ones who are are getting the attention right now. Sports is an up and down business, one year you win the Stanley Cup, the next year you miss the playoffs (eg. Carolina Hurricanes). It’s nice to see passion in Ottawans when it comes to our hockey team. In fact, I recall one fan was so happy a couple of years ago that he donated a kidney to Melnyk because of an ailment he was suffering.
    This wasn’t a great year for the Sens but anyone who expects a team to be successful year after year in this, the era of free agents, is going to be disappointed.


    1. Sisco:

      You’re right.
      I’m a hockey fan and I’m very happy with Eugene Melnyk.
      He had a stretch of losing about $10 million a year on the team. I wouldn’t pour that kind of money into a hockey club when you can do 10 or 15 per cent on the stock market plus haul in dividends.
      People talk about the franchise appreciating in value and that Melnyk is making money that way. True enough.
      But you have to sell the team to garner that money. Until then, it’s pretty much expenses.
      Rather like your house. Expenses until you sell.
      So yes, not everyone is against Melnyk. Me for one.




  2. Bruce Firestone summed it up best – Don Cherry is in the entertainment business. I recall Pavel Bure responding to a question about Don Cherry with something to the effect of “If I want to see clowns, I go to the circus”. In short, people in the hockey business know who and what Don Cherry is.

    Don Cherry understands and practices that old adage along the lines of “I don’t care what you call me as long as you call me.” That is why he wears jackets made from the ends of rolls of drapery fabric. That is why he is loud and provocative. He knows that being boring and analytical won’t get him the audience that drives his reported $700K/year fees.

    All of which is to say that we should take Don Cherry’s rants with a grain of salt. He isn’t always right and he isn’t always wrong.

    One of the world’s greatest philosophers was Barney Miller (a TV sitcom cop of too many decades ago, so take this as a sarcasm alert). His standard line was “Gentlemen, let’s keep this in perspective.” A self esteem deprived individual convinced between 1,000 and 10,000 people (my estimate based on an average contribution) to put up $10,000 to put up a few big signs that take a cheap shot at Eugene Melnyk. That and 75 cents doesn’t buy me anything at the local Starbucks.


    1. Ron:

      Just because Don is bombastic, showbiz, and has jackets that look like they got hit by a car, doesn’t mean he is wrong on this.

      If I had poured tens of millions of bucks into the team, got to within a goal of the finals and paid good salaries in U.S. dollars, I’d be pretty p’ed off.

      Typical Ottawa … given how much is handed out to this town by the federal government, expect some Sens fans to ask to go to the games for free.

      As the former GM of the old Rough Riders said: Ottawans wouldn’t buy a ticket if the Ticketmaster was next door.

      Won’t pay money to see Erik Karlsson at his peak? Won’t pay money for hockey.

      Cheap, cheap, cheap.

      You want pro hockey, buy a ticket. You don’t? Expect the team to move sooner or later.

      Given the attitude of Ottawa and the residents’ civic government, I’d move it sooner.

      That’s the way of the world, Spencer. Get used to it. It ain’t changin’ for you.

      Lose the perpetual victim attitude, Spencer. Do something positive for a change.




      1. Ken, as I said in my comment, sometimes Don Cherry is right, and sometimes he isn’t. While I will refrain from seeking fashion advice from Mr. Cherry, and I take exception to much of what he says about the need to return to “old time” hockey, as it relates to his comments regarding the need for the residents of Ottawa to support the Senators in a meaningful, as in cash flows, way, he is right.

        Instead of criticizing Mr. Melnyk for his failure to spend endless amounts of his money to provide them with a source of entertainment, perhaps some of these fans could, rather than drop $150 for the latest Karlsson jersey, direct that money towards a ticket or two and watch the game in person, rather than from the comfort of their couch. That way, rather than Mr. Melnyk receiving a very small portion of the proceeds from the jersey sales, his hockey team gets all of the $150, which he could then use to fund hockey operations.

        Of course, one should keep in mind that the term “fan” is a derivative of the word “fanatic”, which is a synonym of zealot, and there are far better things to do than waste one’s time debating with zealots.


        1. Ron:

          You’re right about the old-time hockey rant.

          But wrong on his fashion. He looks fetching. lol




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