Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

It's a Cherry-red moment

Grapes sure likes premier's looks

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It was enough to make a premier blush -- even one who's had to keep his elbows up in the political corners at the legislature for more than two decades.

Don Cherry, star of the hugely popular Coach's Corner show on Hockey Night in Canada, made a brief appearance at the legislative building Thursday to celebrate the countdown to the 2010 winter Olympics and Paralympics in Vancouver.

Also on hand for the event was Paul Rosen, a goaltender for Canada's national sledge hockey team that won a gold medal at the 2006 Paralympic Games in Turin, Italy.

With dozens of politicians, political staffers and visitors looking on, Cherry, standing beside Premier Gary Doer, drew cheers, hoots and laughs when he said: "The premier, here, when I saw him, I didn't know whether to kiss him or shake his hand, he's so good-looking."

Moose owner Mark Chipman presented Moose hockey jerseys to both Cherry and Rosen, and Cherry presented Doer with a Canadian Olympic hockey sweater as well as a personally autographed vintage Hockey Night in Canada sweater to be auctioned off for charity.

Rosen's story is inspiring. He had his right leg amputated above the knee because of an infection in 1999. A half-dozen years later, at the not-so-tender age of 45, he was representing his country at the Paralympics.

"I don't consider myself anything special," Rosen said Thursday. "I consider myself a person that was given an opportunity at a second chance at life."

Then, looking directly at some of the youngsters in the crowd near the grand staircase at the legislative building, Rosen said: "Not everybody can win a gold medal, but everybody can dream. And never, ever give up on your dreams because that's what it's all about to be a Canadian."

Cherry, wearing a reddish-striped double-breasted suit, was introduced at the ceremony by Healthy Living Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross, who marked the occasion by wearing a striped jacket in five colours.

Cherry complimented Irvin-Ross on her fashion sense, calling the jacket "beautiful."

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 25, 2009 C2

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