Saturday, April 30, 2011

Coach's Corner


If you are even a regular viewer of 'Hockey Night In Canada' then you know who these two people are. During the first period of Saturday night hockey games sportscaster Ron McClain (the guy in the nice suit who is also a local boy from my home town) and Don Cherry (who was both a hockey player and a coach) discuss the finer points of the current game.

Don Cherry is know for his bombastic nature and support for hitting and fighting in the NHL. He loves nothing more than to see one player smash an opposing team's player into the side boards. He also loves it when two player drop their gloves and pound each other while trying to stay balanced on their skates.

Cherry is unapologetic about his support for violence in hockey. As a player, he had the reputation for being tough and spending lots of time in the penalty box. He even puts out the 'Rock 'Em Sock 'Em' DVDS that highlight the best checks and hockey fights in any given season.

He speaks loudly and proudly about the players he admires because of their toughness and 'old time hockey' style of play. He has no patience for European players who, in his opinion, are wimps for not getting into fights and for not dishing out punishment to their opponents.

McClain plays the straight man who both asks Cherry questions and makes jokes at Cherry's expense - with the jokes usually flying right over Cherry's head. It's great entertainment from two guys that bring out the best in each other. McClain is arguably the smartest man in sports broadcasting. He knows exactly what to say to the goon sitting beside him and that is what makes 'Coach's Corner' so interesting to watch.

The most fun aspect of Don Cherry's personality, however, has to be his selection of clothing to wear on TV. The loud sports coats, the high collars and mis-matched ties are his trademark. He is larger than life so it's important to him that his cloths are larger than life too.

We Canadians are a quiet, polite people but for some reason we love Don Cherry's 'in your face' style of sportscasting. He just tells it like it is and has the knowledge and authority to backup what he is saying. He may be the only guy in the world that can pull off his 'looks' and not have them distract from his message. If anything his loud clothing only enhance his message.

Check out one of the episodes of 'Coaches Corner'. McClain can barely keep from bursting out in laughter sitting beside Cherry who is wearing one of his classic sports coats. It's important to remember that this is what it is like every week. You gotta love Canada.

8 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Did you ever see that Rick Mercer show where Rick got a suit made for him just like Don Cherry's? Hilarious! I think Don Cherry kissed him too.

Matt said...

I'm from Rochester, NY and Cherry was both a player and coach for the Rochester Americans, long before I was born. I read his book, "Grapes," and loved it. He's quite a character and his enthusiasm for hockey is contagious. Definitely good for the sport.

Kal said...

I agree with you Matt. He may act and dress like a buffoon but he is far from being a buffoon. Most Canadians love him because he is such an expert on the game and what you see if what you get. He has the touch of the 'common man' which is something that you can't fake. He is real and I think that is what people expect of him. He is not only a great ambassador for hockey but for Canada as well.

Unknown said...

We have a word for guys that dress up in clothes like that and press themselves up against other men....

Kal said...

priest? bishop?

Unknown said...

Oh, well said Kal..I laughed until I stopped.

M. D. Jackson said...

Ron Maclaine and Don Cherry are the most entertaining duo on Canadian TV since Wayne and Shuster passed away.

(That's a comment that I think only Canadians would understand)

Kal said...

I like Wayne and Shuster as a kid. That song about the Spanish Inquisition still rattles around in my mind. Their comedy owes alot more to vaudeville than stand-up and that old fashioned approach worked. It was goofy and safe and perfect for kids to watch with their parents.