Dick Cherry

Every hockey fan knows who Don Cherry is - the loud obnoxious TV personality and former very successful coach of the Boston Bruins. But few people know who Dick Cherry is.

"People are forever coming up and asking me, 'Hey, aren't you Don's brother?' " explained Dick. "I've been called 'Don's brother' so often in recent years that I sometimes think my initials are D.B. Thankfully, people in Kingston still know me as Dick, which truly is my first name."

While Dick lives in the very big shadow of his brother, he was actually a better player - 149 times better if you compare NHL games played totals. Don only appeared in one NHL game in his long minor league career. Dick too played mostly in the minors, but appeared in 149 games - 8 with Boston and 141 with Philadelphia.

"Most people around Kingston realize that I played a couple of years in the NHL," says Dick. "In fact, there was actually a time when folks around here referred to Don as my brother!"

That was back in 1968 through 1970 when Dick benefited from NHL expansion. The long time minor leaguer finally caught on as a limited defenseman and fulltime penalty killer with the young Flyers.

Dick initially sat out the first NHL season to teach elementary school in Kingston. He had initially retired from hockey in 1963 after 6 seasons in the minors to teach school. He came out of retirement in 1966-67 to play with the Oklahoma City Blazers of the CHL but returned to the halls of education.

Dick jumped a Flyers offer of $22,000 contract with a guarantee to play in the NHL .

"That was a hell of a lot of money in those days," recalled Cherry. "I went to the school director and asked him for a leave of absence to play in the NHL and the thought it was a great idea. So, off I went to Philadelphia.

Cherry earned a niche as a penalty killer but also popped in an impressive 9 goals in his rookie year, helping the Flyers reach the playoffs. His biggest goal came during the opening game of the 1969 playoffs against St. Louis.

"I scored a goal against Jacques Plante of the Blues" Dick remembers. "We ended up losing the game 5-2, but it was quite a thrill to get a goal in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Its a memory I'll keep with me the rest of my life."

Dick played another full season in Philly in 1969-70. His numbers dipped to 3 goals and 4 assists in 68 games. In the off-season he was reclaimed by the Boston Bruins in a intra-league draft. Dick was reluctant to leave the Flyers, as he knew there was little chance he'd play in Boston. He decided to play one more year, even though he'd return to Oklahoma City in the minor leagues "just to be eligible for NHL pension benefits" before retiring for good at age 34.

Dick returned to teaching full time and later became a principal.


Unknown 11:21 AM  

Hi Dick, I'm from Kingston and we both went to Rideau Public School together until I was transferred to Victoria after grade 3. I'm sure that you have no memory of me. but I remember that you were a very good player even then with ambition to play for the Bruins. I was never any good, although in high school I once struck you out in a fun baseball game at KCVI. I spent most of my athletic career as a distance runner. In the early '70s I watched you play for the Flyers on TV. I though that you were their best defenseman. Had you been 30 years younger you would have been a star in the NHL but those were different times. I also understand that you are an excellent decoy carver and have put some in Aunt Lucy's restaurant on Princess St. I learned this from my late friend Jim Grasse who was also in our class. Like you I taught for many years. I live in the greater Albany NY area now but still make frequent trips to our cottage on Loughboro Lake which has been in family hands since 1945. We go up frequently during the summer months. My wife and I will be going up in mid July for a couple of weeks.

Best wishes, Charles

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