Thursday, 4 December 2008

TBC: Don Cherry's Hockey Stories

Teebz's Book Club is proud to return with another book this week to potentially help you with your Christmas shopping and stocking stuffers. Anytime you mention Don Cherry in Canada, you know there will be a discussion that follows about something that Mr. Cherry has said on his popular segment on Hockey Night In Canada called "Coach's Corner". Today, we bring a lot of stories from Mr. Cherry's career in hockey and broadcasting in a new book entitled Don Cherry's Hockey Stories and Stuff, as told by Don Cherry, transcribed by Al Strachan, and published by Doubleday. This book has a lot of funny stories in it, and, as Don Cherry would say, it's a beauty.

Don Cherry, as stated above, is the featured star on "Coach's Corner" on the CBC's Hockey Night In Canada program, and he has produced volumes of hockey highlight videos and DVDs under the "Rock 'Em Sock 'Em" name. Don also has hosted a nationally syndicated radio show with Brian Williams for a number of years, and was a player and coach - most notably of the Bobby Orr-led Boston Bruins - for a long time. Recently, Don Cherry has devoted a large amount of his time to raising funds for Rose Cherry's Home for Kids, a hospice for terminally ill children. The late Rose Cherry was Don's wife who passed away from lung cancer in 1997, and Don has worked tirelessly to try to help as many children as he can. Don is also a proud father to his two children, Tim and Cindy.

Al Strachan is a former columnist with the Toronto Sun, the Globe & Mail, and the Montreal Gazette. Al can regularly be seen on the Satellite Hotstove segment between the second and third periods of the CBC's Hockey Night In Canada, and regularly makes appearances on The Score highlight channel on the Hardcore Hockey Talk show with Steve Kouleas and Steve Ludzik.

Nothing in the book was off-limits with Mr. Cherry, it seems. He speaks about his time in the minor-leagues, shuffling from one city to another on the buses. He speaks of friends and family, relating funny stories about everyone, especially his dog, Blue. Mr. Cherry talks about his colleagues at the CBC, and how their relationships and friendships work. He talks of coaching and being part of management. He speaks of former players and how friendships grew out of mutual respect.

But the one thing that hit me when reading this book is how the stories are told exactly in the manner that Don Cherry speaks. The stories are full of grammatical errors and mispronunciations, but that's exactly how Don speaks when he's on Coach's Corner! Literally, Mr. Strachan transcribed Mr. Cherry's stories word-for-word, and it really gives you the feeling that you're sitting with Don as he tells stories about hockey.

While I am not an Al Strachan fan whatsoever, Mr. Strachan does a decent job in not adding anything irrelevant to Don's stories. At most, Mr. Strachan will add a paragraph at the end of a story to clarify some details in Don's story or provide some history on someone mentioned. As you read deeper into the book, there is less added by Mr. Strachan, making the story-telling that much better.

Mr. Cherry tells a story about his long-time statsperson named Kathy Broderick. Kathy was, as Don put it, a red-headed "little firecracker", but Don gives her all the credit for the work she does on Coach's Corner in gathering information. Don tells a great story about her:

"One day, I said to her, 'Kathy, if they ever get rid of you, I'll leave the CBC.' She said, 'Don't say that in public, Grapes. They'll get rid of me for sure.'

"She's sort of a wise guy."

Stories like this are what makes Don Cherry's Hockey Stories and Stuff so good. Mr. Cherry has a lot of funny stories about a lot of hockey personalities, and he really can tell a good story. What I liked is that it provided a little history on the Bruins while being funny, and I'm a big fan of hockey history and comedy. The book has curse words starred out, but you still get the idea of what's being said. Having said this, I would recommend this book to teenagers and adults in terms of demographics, and it really is a great book for anyone who is a Don Cherry fan or a hockey fan. Don Cherry's Hockey Stories and Stuff gets the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval for its humourous look at hockey through Don Cherry's eyes.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Teebz said...

You two "anonymous" morons who decided that it was more important to rag on Don Cherry's reaction to Ovechkin rather than discuss the merits of this book are done.

Any additional comments about Cherry that don't pertain to the book on this article will be deleted. Got it?