Don Stewart Cherry ( February 5, 1934), popularly known as “Don Cherry” is a Canadian ice hockey broadcaster, retired player, team owner and NHL coach. Don’s passion for his game gave him countrywide popularity and he is loved by the masses for his unique attire, distinct commentary and controversial statements.
Don Cherry was born to Delmar Cherry and Maude Cherry on February 5, 1934, in Kingston, Ontario. Delmar Cherry, his father, worked with the Canadian Steamship Lines as an electrician. He was an amateur athlete and was quite passionate about sports. Don has a younger brother, Dick Cherry, who has played in the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers for two seasons.
Don was married to Rosemarie Cherry, (born 1935 in Hersey, Pennsylvania). He met Rosemarie during the first year of his playing with the American Hockey League Hershey Bears. Rosemarie played a very influencing and inspiring role in Don’s life and was very supportive. She understood his profession and moved with him 53 times. Due to Don’s role in major leagues, he was usually away from home, so much so, that he was absent during the birth of their first child, Cindy Cherry. Six years later, the couple was blessed with a son, named Tim Cherry. Cindy donated her kidney to her younger brother Tim when he needed a kidney transplant. Tim was just 13 at that time. The siblings are still very close to each other and live at a close distance from their father’s house in Mississauga.
Sadly, Rosemarie died on June 1, 1997, after battling with liver cancer for a few years. She was a big moving factor in Don’s life and in her honour, he founded “ Rose Cherry’s Home for Kids” which was later renamed to “ The Darling Home for Kids”, located in Ontario.
Cherry got remarried to Luba in 1999.
Don Cherry started his playing career with the Barrie Flyers and the Windsor Spitfires in the Ontario Hockey Association. He is a high school drop out and went on to play with the popular Hershey Bears very early in his career. He played in small leagues for almost 20 years and retired in the year 1970 only to make a comeback 2 years later. He played his last 19 games with the Rochester Americans.
It was during 1968-69, Don’s life hit a rough phase after retirement. He lived a very uncomfortable life and earned $2/hour as a part-time painter. He did many small jobs just to fulfil the basic necessities of life. However, during 1971-72, his life changed again and Cherry went on to coach the Rochester Americans of the AML and won the prestigious “Coach of the year” award. Cherry is also a successful commentator known for his controversial opinions.
Cherry is a successful owner of a restaurant chain, video series that features his trademark banter and hockey highlights, and a TV show named the Grapevine. He also owns the “Missausaga Ice Dogs- an expansion franchise of the Ontario Hockey League.