CTV, Jessica Allen apologize for her hockey remarks after Don Cherry's firing

Jessica Allen of CTV's "The Social" is shown in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Bell Media

TORONTO - CTV says it is apologizing to anyone who was offended by comments made by a correspondent on its show The Social following the firing of hockey commentator Don Cherry.

During the program on Tuesday, Jessica Allen said she doesn't "worship at the altar of hockey'' and found in her experience that those who did "all tended to be white boys who weren't, let's say, very nice.''

She added that "they were not generally thoughtful, they were often bullies.''

CTV said Allen's comments generated an extraordinary response. Many hockey parents expressed their anger.

"We would like to apologize to everyone who was offended by the remarks, and let you know that your feedback sparked much debate and introspection at The Social and CTV," the network said in a statement Thursday.

"We won't restrict our hosts from offering their opinions on an opinion show, but we will always listen to viewers when they offer theirs."

Allen also issued an apology, saying when she spoke she was referring to hockey players she knew personally when she was in high school and university. She said Cherry reminded her of those players.

"I regret saying that my experiences were personal instead of underlying that they were specific episodes from determined moments with particular individuals," she wrote.

"As a result, I offended many people. Not just our viewers, but parents, children, coaches, volunteers and hockey families everywhere. To you I apologize."

Earlier Thursday, the family of one of the 13 survivors of the April 2018 Humboldt Broncos bus crash said it would no longer speak with CTV because of Allen's comments.

Tom Straschnitzki, the father of Ryan Straschnitzki, who is paralyzed from the chest down, said if Cherry got fired for his comments, CTV should do the "right thing."

Earlier this week, Toby Boulet, whose son Logan died from injuries suffered in the crash, spoke out.

"How dare you! You do not know my son or the other sons on the Bronco bus. You are spreading assumptions on a national scope based upon your own personal experience. Do better CTV!" he said on Twitter.

Sportsnet fired Cherry this week following his comments on "Hockey Night in Canada," which many felt were critical of immigrants for not wearing Remembrance Day poppies.

Cherry used the phrase, 'You people,' during the "Coach's Corner'' segment Saturday night but has denied that he was singling out visible minorities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 14, 2019.

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