It has been a monumental week for the 78-year-old Canadian Hockey icon. First, he and Coach’s Corner producer Kathy Broderick join the twitterverse. (@CoachsCornerCBC) And tonight, The Wrath of Grapes: The Don Cherry Story II, the sequel to the 2010 miniseries Keep Your Head Up, Kid: The Don Cherry Story premieres on CBC. But yesterday, on the heels of the firing of Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson, Grapes unleashed a tirade of epic proportions directed towards Leafs General Manager Brian Burke that you have to see to believe.
Author’s Note: For anyone that hasn’t seen Keep Your Head Up, Kid: The Don Cherry Story, it’s the story of a journeyman hockey player toiling in the minor leagues for 16 years only, to play in only one game for the Boston Bruins in 1955. However, success wouldn’t find him until, when at the age of 39, he succeeded Bep Guidolin as the head coach of the Boston Bruins. In his 5 seasons as bench boss of the Big Bad Bruins, he coached 400 games; winning a franchise-high 231 games, won the Jack Adams Award in 1976 as the NHL’s best head coach, and led the Bruins to back-to-back Stanley Cup Final appearances in 1977 and 1978.
The Wrath of Grapes: The Don Cherry Story II picks up the story where Keep Your Head Up, Kid left off. After spending the 1979-80 season coaching the Colorado Rockies, producers of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada decided that Grapes would be perfect as an analyst for a first intermission segment that would be known as The Coach’s Corner. After doing the weekly segment for a week or two, he realized that the weekly HNIC segment wouldn’t draw in more viewers watching the game, But there was a reason why the producers of Hockey Night in Canada picked the former Adams Award winner to do The Coach’s Corner. When he had to do interviews as a coach, he was loud, opinionated, and partisan. The Coach’s Corner gave the experience of putting you, the viewer, inside the dressing room during an in-game situation. And for the last 32 years, that’s exactly what he does every Saturday night during the first intermission of the first game of the Hockey Night in Canada doubleheader. In the preview clip above, the scene shows the first meeting between Cherry and new Hockey Night in Canada studio host Ron MacLean back in 1986.
The Wrath of Grapes chronicles Don Cherry’s tenure as an analyst on Hockey Night in Canada. From his stance on fighting in hockey, to foreign players, to even the dreaded 7-second delay, through it all, there’s a reason why Coach’s Corner is the signature segment of Hockey Night in Canada and is consistently the highest-rated spot on Canadian television: Don Cherry is devoutly passionate for the game of hockey and is extremely loyal to the Federal Dominion of Canada,