On Nov. 30, 2013, Don Cherry took to the airwaves on CBC’s Hockey Night In Canada – wearing what appeared to be a shabby chic down comforter as a jacket – and blasted the former NHL players who are suing the League for the way its handled concussions through the years.
“It’s a money grab,” said Cherry, calling the lawsuit ridiculous. “I feel sorry for the guys, but it’s a money grab.”
Bobby Taylor had heard enough. The owner of Black Bull Tavern on Queen Street West in Toronto doesn’t have the bully pulpit that Cherry does; what he does have is a street sign, which he turned into a billboard calling out Cherry’s comments.
The one side reads: “HNIC Don Cherry ‘money grab’ throws hockey players under the bus.”
The other side lists the names of Derek Boogaard, Wade Belak and Rick Rypien, former enforcers who all died in the Summer of 2011.
Sitting in the Black Bull, Taylor said Cherry should be “ashamed” of his comments and called him a “turncoat.”
“He’s made a lot of money from hockey, and the hockey players, and when he had a chance to give something back to the players by some kind of support in this lawsuit, he chose not to,” Taylor said. “He called those guys down. He called it a money grab. It’s almost like calling them liars, like you didn’t get hurt, you don’t have concussions.”
Cherry and CBC declined comment when contacted by Metro. Taylor’s theory: “It’s funny how I almost can tell he’s a little sheepish about it. He probably regrets what he did say.”
Our question: When does the bar escalate the war? When is "Smashed Grapes Night," where wine is half-off? Or serve a "Cherry Bomb," in which you pour every bottle and food coloring into the same pitcher to mimic his wardrobe? Or instead of ladies' night, "Too Many Men Night" in honor of his coaching job in the 1978 Wales Conference Final?