Don Cherry and Ron MacLean
In February 2009, the Professional Hockey Players’ Association named the tandem of Don Cherry and Ron MacLean as co-recipients of the 2009 Curt Leichner Distinguished Member Award, as voted by the PHPA Executive Committee.
Cherry, who played 16 seasons in the minor leagues, including stops in Hershey, Springfield, and Rochester of the AHL, has long been an advocate of minor league hockey. Both he and MacLean have spent considerable time praising the importance of professional minor league hockey at the National level on the CBC’s popular Coach’s Corner segment on Hockey Night in Canada. Cherry has also promoted the minor leagues through his syndicated radio shows and books, including his most recent book, “Don Cherry’s Hockey Stories and Stuff” which includes a number of tales from his minor league experiences.
MacLean, who is one of the game’s most eloquent ambassadors and true icon of the sport of hockey, has won 8 Gemini Awards for outstanding broadcasting for his work on Hockey Night in Canada since 1986. Although he never played hockey at the professional level, his passion for the game and dedication to promoting players who are making their way to the NHL level from the minor leagues has helped promote minor league players on a National scale.
“The tandem of Don Cherry and Ron MacLean have been promoting the sport of hockey on a National level for years, and have spent considerable time promoting the talent and skill level of players in the minor league development system who are on their way to playing in the National Hockey League,” said PHPA Executive Director Larry Landon. “This is a well-deserved honour and I am proud that the PHPA Executive Committee, on behalf of all PHPA Members, recognized both individuals for their contribution to the sport.”