TORONTO - Don Cherry says the men's locker-room is no place for a woman.
The outspoken CBC hockey broadcaster made the comments during his weekly Coach's Corner segment of "Hockey Night in Canada" on Saturday night while discussing the controversy around Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Duncan Keith.
Keith was criticized earlier in the week after delivering what some considered a sexist post-game putdown to a female radio reporter in Vancouver.
Cherry believes the reporter — Karen Thomson of Team 1040 — shouldn't have been allowed in the Blackhawks dressing to begin with.
"I don't believe women should be in the male dressing room," said Cherry, causing his broadcast partner, Ron MacLean, to grimace.
"I remember the first time it happened to me," continued Cherry, "guys are walking around naked and I hear this woman's voice. I turn around and she's asking me about the power play. I say, 'Let's go outside.' She said, 'I'm not embarrassed.' I said, 'I am.'"
MacLean responded by voicing his support for "equal opportunity" as Cherry questioned him on whether he would be OK with men being allowed in the dressing room when MacLean's wife, Cari MacLean, plays hockey.
"You want men in the dressing room with women?" asked Cherry.
"I don't feel women are equal. I feel they're above us. I think they're on a pedestal and they should not be walking in when naked guys are walking in. And some guys take advantage of it and I don't think (they) should be."
Keith was the subject of criticism after Thomson questioned him in post-game scrum about a slash on Canucks star Daniel Sedin during a 3-1 Chicago loss to Vancouver on Monday.
Keith took exception to her suggestion he got away with a slash.
"We should get you as a ref maybe, eh?" he said. "The first female referee. You can't play probably either, right? But you're thinking the game like you know it? OK, see ya."
Keith later apologized for the exchange and said he was "fired up" after an emotional loss and meant no disrespect to women.
Reactions on Twitter after Cherry's comments were overwhelmingly in disagreement with the 79-year-old.
"I'm embarrassed by and for Don Cherry and for CBC. Sorry," tweeted Vancouver-based CBC sports reporter Karin Larsen.
Tessa Bonhomme, an Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian women's hockey team who covers the Toronto Maple Leafs, also had words for Cherry.
"Just for the record. I have NEVER seen a naked player in a dressing room. Nor am I looking for one when I'm in there. #JobToDo"
Related on HuffPost:
Still trying to understand the controversy surrounding the Don Cherry comment about not letting women in the locker room! @CoachsCornerCBC
don cherry wear normal clothes before you go around oppressing women. #smh
I fully agree with Don Cherry's comments last night. Women athletes wouldn't want male reporters in the change rooms.
Who cares what Don Cherry said about women in NHL dressing rooms. He's a dinosaur in a garish suit - why would they report it as "news"?
Honestly, Don Cherry is from an age where it wasnt right for women to be in locker rooms, serve in the military, and all sorts of other shit
If you still have any respect left for Don Cherry after his comments about women in dressing rooms this weekend...I can't even.
Kyle Trojan Murphy
Kind of agree with Don Cherry. No women reports in men's dressing room, just as no men reporters in women's dressing room. Not sexist at all
Don Cherry getting ripped for saying women reporters shouldnt be let in mens change rooms. Are male reporters let in female rooms? #equality
Don cherry said it best "women are above us , they are on a pedestal"
@JackRegina Don Cherry also said male reporters shouldn't be allowed in a women's locker room.
Don Cherry makes a comment about how women shouldn't be allowed in men's locker rooms and women's right's groups go nuts about equality...
If Don Cherry doesn't want women in locker rooms where will the Montreal Canadiens get dressed? #peskysens #gosensgo @NHL_Sens
Interesting to see that a lot of the people who think Don Cherry was right on Saturday are women. Did not expect that.
Ron Maclean's reaction to Don Cherry saying no women in the locker room is absolutely priceless #HNIC
I agree with Don cherry girl reporters shouldn't be allowed in the dressing room .. Not a place for women trust!! #nodisrespect