Monday, February 9, 2009

Happy 75th Birthday to a TRUE Hockey original and former Bruins Legend, Don "Grapes" Cherry

Since Kynch still seems to be out with what I can only assume is a case of "General Soreness", I figured I'd better pick up the mantle a bit on this thing before we lose all of our regular KBBK readers and at least WRITING SOMETHING to change the look of this blog! And so with me now moving up to the "1st line" Centerman spot, what do I come up with? Some set of insightful weekend game recaps...Nope!... Some kind of new uniform unveiling or like rant...Nope! Something stinging around The Krej's (& Wheeler's) trip to Coach Claude's Doghouse this past Saturday...Nope! Maybe even some Alex "Kova-Lost" comparison to "A-Roid"... Again...Nope!

Instead I've decide to use my 1st line shift to send all our thanks and a heartfelt "Happy Birthday" wish out to former Bruins Coach & Hockey Ambassador extraordinaire, Don "Grapes" Cherry who turned 75 years young this past Thursday the 5th.

For those that haven't looked a bit closer at this true champion of hockey, Coach "Grapes" bio as listed on Wikipedia (
which by the way kind of reads like an Obituary(?) goes something like this;

"Donald Stewart "Grapes" Cherry, born February 5, 1934 is a Canadian born hockey commentator for CBC Television. Cherry co-hosts the "Coach's Corner" intermission segment (with Ron MacLean) on the long running Canadian sports program Hockey Night in Canada. He is known for his outspoken manner, flamboyant dress, and staunch patriotism. Prior to his broadcast career, Cherry was a National Hockey League player and coach. He played one game with the Boston Bruins and later coached them during the days of Bobby Orr. He is also well-known as an author, syndicated radio commentator for The Fan Radio Network, creator of the "Rock'em Sock'em Hockey" video series, and celebrity endorser. Cherry was voted as the seventh greatest Canadian on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's television special, The Greatest Canadian"

Well that's nice and all and despite the general "hot or cold" feeling's he seems to stir in people, you'd have to agree that he does consistently tell it like his sometimes outdated & xenophobic mind sees it and that despite all of that, Pro & Con he's still been one of if not the most important figure in the growth of Hockey in the world over the last 40 years+

For me though when I think of Coach Grapes it's in these Top 10 ways and in no special order-

1) His very vocal & very true love of the GAME of hockey

2) His constant support of Canada's troops & of Canada's police and fire personal
3) His seemingly endless string of bad suit coats. Where do you get such things?
4) His vocal disdain for 98% of the league's Euro's and the way "they" play "his" game
5) His 35+ year "Bro"mance with one Robert G. Orr (which if you think about it could have been the 1st ever recorded case of Man-Love)
6) "Too Many Men on the Ice" in 1979. Ugh...
7) His beloved set of Bull Terrier's all named "Blue" the first of which was a gift from his "Lunch Pail Gang" B's players back in the 70's and one of which is picture with him in the attached photo
8) His one time reference to Finnish born and then Winnipeg Jets Assistant Coach Alpo Suhonen as "some kind of dog food" on CBC's Coaches Corner which triggered a threat of a law suit from Jets owner Barry Shenkarow and national outrage in January 2004. Nice!
9) Also in 2004 when he was asked his opinion of visors being used in the league, Cherry said: "Most of the guys that wear them are Europeans and French guys, ya know, the real ladies" Classic Grapes! & then finally-
10) The fact that to this day Cherry always wears a rose on his lapel as a symbol of his wife who died of liver cancer in 1997 and whose name was naturally "Rose"

Again a Happy 75th Grapes & thanks for memories (so far...) Thanks for reading & Go Broounze! - KingKrej46

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