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Odds to Replace Don Cherry on HNIC’s Coach’s Corner

Don Cherry Fired as Analyst Betting Odds

In a move that may have been inevitable given Don Cherry’s outspoken, old-school nature, Hockey Night in Canada ended its relationship with the centerpiece of its Saturday night intermission segment after a 38-year run.

In the eyes of many observers, it was not so much this one incident that sealed Cherry’s fate, but more so a straw that broke the camel’s back scenario with the number of incidents of his statements affecting the brand increasing in recent years. 

With the pulpit seat now empty, online sportsbook  Bovada has released odds on who will take Cherry’s place alongside host Ron MacLean.

Why Was Don Cherry Fired?

Cherry, also known fondly by his nickname Grapes, has long been a supporter of the Canadian Armed Forces. With Remembrance Day (Veterans Day) looming on November 11, Cherry spoke during his November 9 Coach’s Corner segment about the importance of purchasing and wearing a poppy – a long-held tradition of publicly supporting and remembering those who gave their lives for freedom in both the First World War and the Second World War. 

After a backlash from fans, sponsors and the general public, the company that owns Hockey Night in Canada, Rogers Sportsnet, cut ties with one of its most recognized personalities. 

Who’s up Next for Hockey Night in Canada?

Assuming that Hockey Night in Canada plans to continue the popular segment, there are many names surfacing from their current roster of talent.

The most likely replacement is former NHL general manager Brian Burke (+125), who joined Sportsnet after leaving his most recent position with the Calgary Flames about 18 months ago. Burke closely mirrors Cherry in his brashness and unapologetic delivery, however, his takes are certainly more measured and more relevant to the current state of the NHL than those of the 85-year-old Cherry.

Next on the oddsboard is Rogers NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman at +175. Friedge, as he’s known in hockey circles, is the most connected man on the current roster at Rogers but he certainly wouldn’t fit the role for a segment called Coach’s Corner as he has never been a coach! 

Other Candidates to Replace Don Cherry

Other names appearing on the odds list are Colby Armstrong, Craig Simpson and Kelly Hrudey (all at +650) as well as Chris Johnston bringing up the rear at +900. Ironically, not one single person on this list has ever coached an NHL game. Armstrong, Simpson and Hrudey are all player-turned-analysts while Johnston joined Sportsnet after working for the Canadian Press.

My Take On This Market

To me, the only play to make on this list of names is Brian Burke. The conditions of Bodog say that this needs to be a continuation of the Coach’s Corner brand or the bet has no action. Therefore, based on the current list of names and the lack of coaching pedigree, it’s gotta be Brian Burke or nobody for me. 

There are some other names in the hockey world that I think would make very interesting replacements that do not currently exist on this list. I could see Craig MacTavish, Mike Keenan or Scotty Bowman as excellent coaches to continue the legacy of the segment. 

Here’s a look at the complete list of candidates at Bovada:

Odds to Be The Next Analyst on Coach’s Corner
NameOdds
Brian Burke+125
Elliotte Friedman+175
Colby Armstrong+650
Craig Simpson+650
Kelly Hrudey+650
Chris Johnston+900