What is unique is that Don Cherry is incredibly controversial. He has called Russian hockey players cheaters and quitters. He's insulted French-Canadians and Europeans do for wearing visors. And he does all of this on the country's national public television broadcaster: the CBC.
Don Cherry definitely isn't politically correct. He was on a seven-second delay for a while due to his comments. He has been investigated by the Commissioner of Official Languages. He has been criticized frequently by pretty much everyone.
You would think this sort of attitude would be frowned upon in Canada.
You would be wrong.
Most Canadians love Don Cherry. He came in seventh in a recent "Greatest Canadian in History" poll. He beat out Sir John A. Macdonald (Canada's first prime minister), Alexander Graham Bell (one of the inventors of the telephone) and fellow hockey icon Wayne Gretzky.
Canadians are generally very polite. They are very accepting. They don't like to create controversy. And yet Don Cherry, a man who breathes controversy, is a hero. A man who goes against the very Canadian idea of celebrating the differences of the country is, for some reason, loved.
In 2004 rumours that he was not going to return to the CBC drew huge complaints from the Canadian public. For some reason this man is incredibly popular. But why?
We've already mentioned how Canadians take on completely different personalities while watching hockey. Even the most gentle Canadians cheer at the sight of a fight. Polite Canadians forget their manners when they're screaming at referees. Their culture of acceptance and tolerance disappears while watching hockey.
That probably explains why they like Don Cherry.
Average Canadians do not insult other cultures. They do not typically request more violence and less art. They don't take shots at people based on their names or their appearances. But while they're watching hockey they do. And so does Don Cherry.
And most Canadians love it.
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