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DeRo

DeRo

My Life
edition:Hardcover
also available: eBook
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Excerpt

 

“Yo DeRo, I want to show you something.”

He reached into his schoolbag and pulled out a gun.

“What the f-ck are you gonna do with that?” I asked him.

Real tough guys didn’t carry guns. Nobody in my crew had a gun, and none of the gangs we would scrap with did either. So who the hell did this guy think he was?

“I’ll shoot anybody that looks at me funny,” he joked.

“You wouldn’t shoot anybody, man. You’re a b-tch.”

I laughed at him as he squared up to me. I could see in his face that my attitude was really starting to piss him off.

“I ain’t scared of no tall kid with a fake gun!”

I wasn’t scared of anybody. He looked down at the gun in his hand and started chuckling to himself.

“You’re a b-tch!” I said again. He was mad now.

He looked up at me and pointed the gun to my head.

I laughed at him. He was testing me. I wasn't afraid, but I quickly realised the gun was real. It was cold against my forehead and I could feel how heavy it was.

“Call me a ‘b-tch’ again, and I’m gonna pull the trigger!”

When you’re that age you don't fear death. I was more afraid he thought he could bully me and get away with it.

“Bro, you’re a b-tch!”

Bang.

 

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A Helluva Life in Hockey
Excerpt

 

When he was still going strong into his 80s I thought he should retire. His voice was going. The hockey world was no longer a “Rock and Sock ’em, society. It was changing and I’d heard his bosses at Sportnet were waiting to find an excuse to push Grapes aside. They’d dumped a number of high salaried guys and Grapes was in the million-a-year bracket. Then, on Nov. 12, 2019—Remembrance Day—he was gone.

 

Turfed after his “you people” rant on Coach’s Corner, gone for singling out new immigrants for not wearing poppies to honour Canada’s veterans and dead soldiers.

 

Ron MacLean, sitting next to him, didn’t catch the words “You people” or he might have asked Don to re-phrase his rant and say “Everybody” instead of “You people.”

 

While the complaints started pouring in, MacLean nodded and gave his partner a thumbs up.

 

MacLean apologized the following day. Cherry did not. He said he meant every word he said.

 

Cherry was widely criticized but one finger pointer, coach Bill Peters of the Calgary Flames, soon regretted it. He approved of Grapes’ dismissal, and talked about hockey standing for diversity…

 

“I saw Cherry,” Peters said. “Our country is based on inclusion. We have a very diverse country. I know in the hockey community, we talk about hockey is for everybody. And that’s how we are in the country of Canada, too.”

 

Hockey for everybody, Bill? Black players, too? Really?

 

A few days after Cherry was sidelined, so was Peters. And for a better reason.

 

Black player Akim Aliu says Peters used racial slurs while addressing the then 20-year-old rookie winger in the locker room of an AHL club a decade ago. It was Aliu’s turn to select the music for the room and Peters had had an earful.

 

“Coach walked in before a morning skate and said ‘Hey Akim, I’m sick of you playing that n——- s—- music.’” Peters was reacting to Aliu listening to rap music. “He said ‘I’m sick of hearing about n——-s f——— other n——-s in the ass stuff.’”

 

Two of Aliu’s teammates on the AHL Rockford Icedogs, Simon Pepin and Peter MacArthur, corroborated Aliu’s accusations. Aliu said Peters never apologized for the incident, but instead doubled down in the coach’s office with another racial slur.

 

Peters essentially admitted that those allegations were true when he resigned as head coach of the Flames and apologized for “offensive language I used in a professional setting a decade ago.” He said that the racial slurs he used were “made in a moment of frustration and do not reflect my personal values.”

 

Maybe not. But Aliu had every right to out him, to expose his comments.

 

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The Only Way Is the Steady Way

The Only Way Is the Steady Way

Essays on Baseball, Ichiro, and How We Watch the Game
edition:Paperback
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Pain Killer

Pain Killer

A Memoir of Big League Addiction
edition:Hardcover
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Hockey's Hot Stove

Hockey's Hot Stove

The Untold Stories of the Original Insiders
edition:eBook
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Everyday Hockey Heroes, Volume II

Everyday Hockey Heroes, Volume II

More Inspiring Stories About Our Great Game
edition:Hardcover
tagged : hockey, essays, sports
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