The CBC is skating away from Don Cherry's rant about fighting in hockey that has generated widespread criticism toward the outspoken commentator. The CBC issued a statement Saturday saying it does not agree with the views Cherry expressed on a Hockey Night in Canada broadcast Thursday. Cherry is shown speaking to reporters at the Hockey Hall of Fame on Tuessday, February 15, 2011, in Toronto. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
TORONTO - Other than using some colourful language, Don Cherry has no regrets about his recent rant on fighting in hockey.
Speaking on his popular "Coach's Corner" segment on CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada" broadcast Saturday, the outspoken hockey personality said he's not going to stop talking about fighting.
But Cherry did step back from some of the vitriol he hurled at three former NHL tough guys on Thursday.
"Maybe one (regret), with the 'puke' stuff with the kids listening and that," he said during the first intermission of the game between the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs.
"That's rude, and I shouldn't say it."
On Thursday's edition of "Coach's Corner," the first of the season, Cherry called former enforcers Stu Grimson, Chris Nilan and Jim Thomson "pukes" and "hypocrites" for speaking out against fighting in the sport.
Cherry was criticized for his outburst, and the CBC issued a statement Saturday saying it does not agree with the views he expressed.
Undeterred, Cherry said of fighting in hockey: "It's a tough sport, fans like it, I still like it."
Kirstine Stewart, the CBC's executive vice-president of English services, said Cherry's comments reflect his own personal opinion.
"While we support his right to voice that opinion, we do not share his position," Stewart said in the statement.
"Player safety is a top priority for CBC, and we support the initiatives of the NHL and others in keeping players safe on and off the ice."
Stewart said she spoke Friday with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and delivered a similar message.
Cherry's rant suggested Grimson, Nilan and Thomson said NHL players who fight are prone to substance abuse. Their comments stemmed from the deaths of Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak earlier this year.
Cherry called them "turncoats" and "hypocrites," accusing them of not wanting players to make the same living they did.
He also accused those who want to end violence in the sport of taking advantage of the three deaths to score points against fighting.
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