Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean addressed former "Coach's Corner" partner Don Cherry and his divisive comments directed at Canadian immigrants on Saturday.
During the first intermission of the Toronto Maple Leafs-Pittsburgh Penguins contest, MacLean spoke about the ending of "Coach's Corner," his relationship with Cherry, and why he chose to speak out against his longtime partner.
"Coach's Corner is no more," MacLean said. "We are all hurting, I have collapsed a 100 times this week, if not more.
" ... I've sat all week long reflecting, and I've heard you (the viewer) I've reflected by listening to my own heart, and I've struggled mightily to find the words and I'm not sure I have them even now," MacLean said. "But they say it's a good thing because when you can find the words, it's dead in your heart, and it's not dead in my heart."
The 59-year-old publicly apologized for Cherry's comments Sunday on Rogers Hometown Hockey. Cherry said MacLean "buried" him with his response, but MacLean said he believed it was important to do what he felt was right despite their longtime friendship.
"I've decided to go one way and he another, and you say well OK how could you choose principle over friendship, but I had to," MacLean continued. "I thought a lot about falling on my sword, too, but if I do that, I infer what happened was right somehow or that I'm going along to get along, or that I'm going to sit silently by or be a bystander again in the situation ... Don taught me to stand right."
MacLean then explained what was going on in his mind during the broadcast and why he failed to react in the moment.
"I was kind of processing what he was saying and thinking I wasn't in an ideological bubble at all, I might have been in a friendship bubble because I was kind of praying that I don't think I'm hearing trouble but I might be hearing trouble, anyway, it was done, and then you called us on it and I thank you for that."
The pair had co-hosted "Coach's Corner," a Saturday night hockey staple, since 1986. MacLean concluded the first intermission by chatting with 2019 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees Hayley Wickenheiser and Guy Carbonneau.