NEWS
04/30/2013 10:52 EDT

Don Cherry Was The First NHL Coach To Let Women Into Locker Room

Don Cherry may have caused controversy over the weekend with his comments about female reporters in NHL locker rooms but it seems that the former NHL coach and long-term CBC commentator forgot his pioneering role towards female journalists back in the 1970s.

Cherry, as the coach of the Boston Bruins, was one of the first NHL coaches to allow female reporters into an NHL locker room for post-game interviews. Former New York Times hockey reporter Robin Herman recounts in a post on espnW.

From her post:

"You were the first coach in the NHL to allow me, a female, accredited sports reporter and member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, into your locker room as a matter of policy. You were coaching the "Big Bad Bruins," and it was ironic that a team with that reputation should be the most forward-thinking in the NHL."

In the open letter she called Cherry my "hero" and that he "should be proud of what you did," back in the 1970s.

“I was up against a draconian news deadline. Working for the Times I had to have my stories in by 11 p.m. or die,” Herman told Global News.

"I don't believe women should be in the male dressing room," said Cherry during Saturday night's Hockey Night In Canada broadcast.

"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.'"

The remarks sparked a firestorm with many on Twitter and other online forums calling Cherry's remarks sexist and dated.

"I'm embarrassed by and for Don Cherry and for CBC. Sorry," tweeted Vancouver-based CBC sports reporter Karin Larsen.

The CBC officially distanced itself from Cherry's remarks. "Don has many opinions on a wide range of subjects and isn't shy about expressing them, this past Saturday night being no exception," CBC spokesman Chuck Thompson said on Monday.

"That said, in as much as Don is hired to give hockey-related opinions on Coach's Corner, he speaks for himself and not the CBC," Thompson added.

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