Bill Wylie, of Sudbury, Ont., has written a song about Don Cherry getting fired.

John Lappa/Sudbury Star

A line Bill Wylie often throws around at his house is, “there’s a song in there somewhere.”

And as Wylie sees it, there’s a song in there somewhere about Don Cherry and his recent firing from Hockey Night in Canada by Sportsnet.

“Well, the show got off in its usual way, first there was the anthem, then the play-by-play. Next, it was Coach’s Corner with Don and Ron MacLean,” Wylie sings in his new song, The Day They Fired Don Cherry.

“Well, he started to talk,” the song continues, “he was going to have a say about wearing poppies on Remembrance Day, but this year Don got a little carried away.”

During a recent broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada and its Coach’s Corner segment, the 85-year-old Cherry had singled out new immigrants for not honouring Canada’s veterans and dead soldiers by wearing poppies.

“You people…you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that,” Cherry said. “These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”

The reaction was quick and Cherry was soon gone.

“Sports brings people together — it unites us, not divides us,” Bart Yabsley, Sportsnet president said in statement. “Following further discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday night’s broadcast, it has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down.”

Over a week removed from Cherry’s comments and his eventual firing, Wylie said he feels the same about Cherry and Hockey Night In Canada as he always did.

“The network was waiting for him to do their dirty work for them,” Wylie said. “It’s like, ‘if we fire Don Cherry the country is going to go nuts, but if we give enough rope and he hangs himself, people are going to say, well, he finally did it’.

“And really, that’s probably one of the reasons why people tuned into the show, just to see what’s Cherry going to do this week, is he going to go too far this week? So, that’s the allure of the show, and now he’s being blamed as a victim of the allure, more or less.”

Retired from the railroad after a 30-year career, Wylie has made songs in the past, like These Volunteers, which speaks to the Canadian experience of going to war. He also wrote the Ballad of Burwash.

“If you give me another day or two I’ve got The Day They Fired Mike Babcock, ready for B-side,” Wylie joked, referring to the former coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who was fired this week.

To listen to more of Wylie’s music, go to his page on SoundCloud, at

As for Don Cherry, he was back with a new show, a podcast called the Grapevine, which aired its first episode Tuesday morning on streaming platforms such as Spotify.

On Cherry’s new podcast, he got into his dismissal from Sportsnet.

“Evidently I said something and everybody knows what I said, and I offered to explain … not an apology, but I was going to smooth it over. They made conditions that made it impossible for me to do it. I just couldn’t do it. And I guess I bite the bill, bite the bullet, and I don’t know what else to say,” said Cherry on his podcast.

“I said what I said. I still say, and I still think, that everybody in Canada should wear a poppy. … And evidently, I said something that upset Sportsnet, and they canned me, and now I’m unemployed, except for doing this beautiful podcast.”

— with files from Postmedia

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