It was summer 1995 and Donald S. Cherry was red in the face. He crouched in a darkened corner of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, surrounded by glass cases of memorabilia. Dressed in full Scottish Highlander attire, he was trying to complete his ensemble with the all-important kilt. He and his wife. Rose, had matching ones made.
Only he couldn’t get the kilt on for the life of him. He struggled and struggled, but it was too tight.
“I thought, holy s—, have I put on that much weight since the last time I put it on?” Don says.
Down the hall, his son Tim waited with a full camera crew. Where was Dad? Half an hour passed.
“I’m thinking, ‘What the hell is going on?’ Tim says. “I go down and you can see dad and he’s all flustered.”
Tim collected Rose and as soon as they strolled over to Don, Rose knew what the problem was.
“She said ‘Oh, you dummy, you grabbed my kilt,’ ” Tim says with a laugh.
So Don Cherry, Jack Adams Award winner with the Boston Bruins and hockey tough guy icon as star of CBC’s Coach’s Corner, had accidentally dressed in drag. The Cherrys improvised.
“They pinned it half way around and my bum was exposed,” Don says.
Don was happy to do it, for the show had to go on. The show was Don Cherry’s Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Hockey, the seventh such installment. Every year, he and Tim did whatever was necessary to produce the best-selling sports video in Canadian history. An ill-fitting skirt wasn’t about to stop them.
It’s that attitude that has helped give the Rock ’Em Sock ’Em series its incredible longevity. On Nov. 26, the 25th edition of the series was released, featuring the best goals, saves, hits and fights of the previous NHL season. Also released for hungry collectors: a box set including every edition.