Don Cherry didn’t hold back in his criticism of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In the first episode of Coach’s Corner of the 2014-15 season, Cherry passionately ripped the Leafs for not drafting enough Canadian players – especially those from Ontario.
“On other side of the world is [Los Angeles],” Cherry told host Ron MacLean. “They take the OHL guys. They take [Tyler] Toffoli, [Tanner] Pearson, and [Justin] Williams — the MVP from Cobourg. “No one comes here to Toronto so you have to go through the draft. On the other hand, we have the Leafs. They draft U.S. college guys, a Swede and a Finn.”
Cherry specifically criticized the Leafs for selecting William Nylander with the eight overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft instead of Orangeville, Ont., native Nick Ritchie, the power forward from the Peterborough Petes who went to the Anaheim Ducks at No. 10.
“They pass Nick Ritchie. He’s 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds. Only three players scored more than this guy. Anaheim picked him up. [GM] Bob Murray picked him. He was the executive of the year. [Ritchie] is tough. He can score. He has beautiful hands.
“The Leafs need tough wingers. They have enough weak forwards.”
Toronto didn’t draft a Canadian player in the entire 2014 NHL Draft.