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TORONTO – Hockey Night in Canada pundit Don Cherry faces a legal threat after he called ex-NHL enforcers Stu Grimson, Jim Thomson and Chris Nilan “pukes” and “hypocrites” for opposing fighting in the pro hockey league.
Nashville-based law firm Kay, Griffin, Enkema & Colbert on Tuesday released a statement indicating the trio of former NHL on-ice enforcers were “considering further recourse” after Cherry’s tirade against them last Thursday on his Hockey Night in Canada between-periods segment Coach’s Corner.
Grimson, Thomson and Nilan took exception with Cherry’s rant against them for suggesting drug addiction, alcohol abuse and mental illness played a part in the recent sudden deaths of three other former NHL gladiators, Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak.
“Mr. Cherry targeted the above-named individuals (Grimson, Thomson and Nilan), some of whom have suffered from such diseases, as a result of views they previously expressed. Mr. Cherry’s comments were more than inappropriate; they were baseless and slanderous,” the legal statement said.
Cherry on Saturday night’s edition of Coach’s Corner was given a chance to back-pedal by expressing regret, but chose not to do so.
“No, no. Maybe one — with the puke stuff and kids listening. That’s rude and I shouldn’t say it,” Cherry said on the CBC broadcast.
The NHL trio called Cherry’s qualification of his original comments against them “entirely ineffectual.”
“In light of the damaging and inflammatory nature of Mr. Cherry’s comments, Messrs. Grimson, Nilan and Thomson are considering further recourse,” the statement said.
The CBC on the weekend distanced itself from Cherry’s comments, as the public broadcaster backs the NHL as it considers ending headshots and fighting in the pro hockey league.
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