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Don Cherry to Rogers: Leave 'Coach's Corner' alone

Ron MacLean (left) and Don Cherry speak before a game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Colorado Avalanche on Feb. 16, 2013 in Edmonton, Alta. NHLI/Getty Images/Andy Devlin

Leave Coach’s Corner alone.

Don Cherry made that plea on Saturday during his weekly segment on Hockey Night in Canada as he addressed the acquisition of NHL broadcast rights by Rogers Communications Inc. for the first time.

The 79-year-old hockey personality said he hoped the iconic program would remain as it is.

“If you’re No. 1, why would you fool around like that,” said Cherry. “I know I’m good. I didn’t fall off a turnip truck. I know everybody watches so all I’m saying is take it easy, don’t try to ruin a good thing, just leave us alone and we’ll be just as good next year.”

After Tuesday’s announcement Cherry scoffed at the notion he might retire, but also suggested he wasn’t consulted on the 12-year, $5.2-billion deal that dramatically alters the Canadian sports media landscape.

The deal gives Rogers national broadcast and multimedia rights over all NHL games starting next season. CBC will continue to broadcast Hockey Night in Canada for the next four years but Rogers will have editorial control.

After being prodded Saturday by sidekick Ron MacLean to talk about the deal — “Do I have to wait?” MacLean asked early in the segment — Cherry took his time before capping the broadcast by giving his views on the change.

“It’s going to be great for the players,” Cherry said. “It’s really something that they put the whole thing together, $5 billion and four days to put it together,” said Cherry.

Cherry, always prepared with a hockey anecdote, compared his segment to how he worked with Hall of Fame defenceman Bobby Orr during his four-year coaching stint with the NHL’s Boston Bruins.

“When I had Bobby Orr, he was the No. 1 hockey player in the world, I just left him alone and you know what? He had the best year ever.”

Cherry joined Hockey Night in Canada full-time in 1981 and CBC started the Coach’s Corner segment shortly after his arrival.

Before he started in broadcasting, Cherry had a lengthy hockey career culminating in his time with the Bruins.

Rogers is the parent company of CityNews.