I’m going to tell you a story on this Sunday, the day before Remembrance Day.
My mother, who loved Frank Mahovlich, and therefore hated the Toronto Maple Leafs for trading him, was a teenager in the second world war. Oh, and she, like me, was half German. She had relatives who still spoke German at home, and she had some who changed their last names. Her parents had been born in Canada to recent immigrants, her father from England with a really hard to spell name. One of those old Saxon names that flummoxes people with vowels that do unexpected things.
She grew up near an airbase, and maybe you don’t know all the stories of those days like I do. The depression, the war that brought a kind of prosperity along with rationing, and the post-war world that changed everything about this country and the world. But in the early stages of the war, before America joined in, men from all over the Commonwealth and the US came to learn to be pilots.
She had a lot of romantic attachments to things that dated to those days. As you can imagine, a man in uniform with a sexy accent makes an impression on a teenage girl. She had a thing for the shade of blue worn by the RCAF back then.
And one day she told me all about phantom limb syndrome because one of her close friends, a boyfriend I think, came home with his legs blown off.
I asked one ordinary day as a child why we got the newspaper, everyone did, but all she did was read the comics and do the crossword. And she told me she’d quit reading the paper in 1940 when the lists of the dead were too much to take. When the chance of a friend or a relative or just some man who’d been at a dance at the airbase one time was going to be on that list had become unbearable.
A lot of people here at this blog don’t like the association of sports with the military. They don’t like the idea of militarism or of nationalism or even patriotism. More for what people do in its name, I think. And they don’t like the anthems and the flags and all of that. That’s not me.
I like the bagpipes on opening day, and I wish they aired it on TV. I don’t mind the recognition of soldiers, and Lupes Troops was a fine thing. The Remembrance Day stuff on ice is tedious when it falls on the HHOF game, and I’m glad that’s not the way it is this year, but I see all of that stuff differently to “you kids today”. The phrase I like to use to satirize Don Cherry, and all that he represents. I grew up too close to what that war was. What it cost.
You know, I don’t want to talk about any of this, for all I like to tell stories. We just did the Don Cherry is bad and should go away thing, and it was a good, hard poke at this strange institution of Coach’s Corner that has become cemented onto NHL hockey in Canada.
But I have to. Because those men my mother knew, all her dead, they didn’t die for hatred or disdain or superiority or supremacy. They died trying to save the world from authoritarian genocide. The died for our way of life. And there cannot be an us and them here. There cannot be a central, important us over here, and “you people” over there.
Don Cherry, everything he said, and everything he represents is an affront to the dead we honour tomorrow and what they fought for. He needs to stop talking. Now.
Aside from the putrid anti-immigrant sentiment here, what’s stunning is the seeming lack of awareness of the Indian, African, and Caribbean soldiers who fought for the British Empire in the First World War. https://t.co/ooi9hyL0nn— Philippe Lagassé (@PhilippeLagasse) November 10, 2019
Perhaps @CoachsCornerDC needs to learn some history. I am wearing my poppy today. And there were SIKHS and many others who lived in Canada, had no rights, and still went to fight. This is not ok. Perhaps he should pay a visit to Kitchener and pay respects to Pvt. Bukham Singh https://t.co/iy5txTcxEI— Bhupinder S. Hundal (@BhupinderHundal) November 10, 2019
If anyone in future suggests Don Cherry @CoachsCornerDC be given Order of Canada remember this. My grandfather (a 🇨🇦 immigrant) served in WW2 & Don never manned a post. Shame on you for allowing him to say it on air during @hockeynight without correcting him @RonMacLeanHTH). https://t.co/rfHKXlGXXr— Sulemaan Ahmed (@sulemaan) November 10, 2019
It shouldn’t be up to people to argue the facts of the case against Don Cherry, and his anti-immigrant, which is therefore anti-Canadian hate speech that interrupted a hockey game. It shouldn’t be up to anyone with fewer generations than I from the moment of settlement to justify themselves for their anger. Particularly not those who aren’t white.
Buy a poppy or not, observe Remembrance Day or don’t. Hate the military or join up. None of that matters. All that matters is that we realize there is only one us. And we’re all in this together.
I’m talking about this today to tell Rogers that I’ve heard enough from Don Cherry. Hockey is for all of us.
I don't think Coach's Corner producers and managers do either. Why is it that this segment goes viral every Saturday night? Is Cherry forced to give talking points beforehand and are they subject to an approval process? Where are the people to reign Don in? https://t.co/0hYn97qr4j— Salim Nadim Valji (@salimvalji) November 10, 2019
Statement from Sportsnet: pic.twitter.com/QZ76r9Y7sb— Sportsnet PR (@SportsnetPR) November 10, 2019
Statement from the National Hockey League regarding Don Cherry’s comments Saturday night: pic.twitter.com/zt57sLy5Fa— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) November 10, 2019
Back to Hockey
So, we got a cannon.— Newfoundland Growlers (@NLGrowlers) November 10, 2019
Gotta say, great to see our old friend - and wildman - Nikita Soshnikov leading the KHL in goals (with 14.)— Quinn MacKeen (@quinnesq) November 9, 2019
And great to see him work through the concussions.
Tough kid, joy to watch, wish he was a Leaf even today.#Leafs #SoshAllDay pic.twitter.com/RWtuH6oXuw
Co-signed. I watched part of his game Saturday in the Karjala Cup, he’s on fire. Had the shootout winner as well as a goal.
I’m not sure why the NHL is so afraid of majors for major infractions, but it’s about time they started giving the only punishment players care about.
You ever just think about, like, how hard hockey is?— EvolvingWild (@EvolvingWild) November 10, 2019
Our things and other things:
Recap: Maple Leafs lose to the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 (SO) - Pension Plan Puppets
Leafs lose the coin flip and Mitch Marner.
2 games, 2 exits: Mitch Marner and Timothy Liljegren are both hurt - Pension Plan Puppets
Marner has an ankle injury.
Big Gourde and Little Gourde guide Lightning to 5-3 win over Sabres in NHL Global Series - Raw Charge
Patrick Maroon and Yanni Gourde had a lot of fun in this game.
RECAP: Penguins need shootout to finish the comeback, beat the Blackhawks 3-2 - PensBurgh
These Penguins are becoming masters of the comeback.
And yes, Auston Matthews was going for the lacrosse goal tonight: “I tried it but didn’t get it on my stick so just made the pass instead.”— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) November 10, 2019
Babcock on Kapanen moving up: "He worked hard tonight. They had some looks. Obviously, you don't expect Moore to be playing there either, but that's just the way it is"— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) November 10, 2019
Tavares: "He was good. Certainly there's some understanding of each other's game & we picked up pretty good"
No Marner for today’s game. We’ll have a preview at some point for you, and a recap later. It should be interesting. I have no idea what Chicago even is right now other than the home of Alex Nylander.
Back to Excited will be along later today too, and it’s always a good listen. Marlies weekend update, too.
And that’s all for today, thanks for being you, everyone.