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Kadri defends Cherry amid firing despite facing racism on NHL ice

An unexpected response to the Cherry dismissal!

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Many would have thought that Colorado Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri would have sided with Sportsnet when they fired Don Cherry on Monday for making offensive comments about Canadian immigrants.

However, Kadri came out and defended Cherry’s point of view despite his Lebanese descent. 

Cherry was fired Monday on Remembrance Day, which honors Canada’s veterans, after he said: “You people … you love our way of life, love our milk and honey. At least you could pay a couple of bucks for poppies or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada.” said Grapes, who spent four decades in the NHL between his time as a player, coach and commentator.

This is what Kadri had to say about Cherry’s dismissal ahead of Tuesday nights’s matchup against the Winnipeg Jets. 

“(Cherry) has been there for so long, it’s going to be hard to see (Hockey Night in Canada) without him, that’s definitely unfortunate,” Kadri said. “I know Grapes and I don’t think it came across like everyone is making it sound. I think with what he said, it was maybe just said incorrectly. People maybe took it out of context a little bit. I know Grapes is a great person and am sad to see him go.”

Kadri’s father immigrated from Lebanon to Canada with his parents in the 1960s.

“The sport brings everyone together with the team values and the work ethic,” Kadri added. “It taught me a lot about those two things. Now, I go watch my little cousins play in their youth development programs and there are a variety of ethnicities on their team. When I was growing up, I was kind of the only one. It’s good to see now.”

However Kadri has had to face racism coming from fans during his 11-year career in the NHL. We can all remember the racist slurs made towards when he was suspended twice in the first round of the postseason against the Boston Bruins, when he was a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Kadri isn’t the only NHLer to comment on the Cherry situation.  Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat said Cherry’s comments have “no place” in hockey, while Montreal Canadiens young forward Max Domi expressed his admiration for the fired analyst. 

Cherry, 85, had held his job since 1981. It will be a significant change to see him missing from Coach’s Corner.