Don Cherry loves it when kids talk to him. But an Oshawa teen has been banned from his job as a volunteer cameraman at the General Motors Centre for doing just that.
Billy Steele, 17, was told that approaching a celebrity like Cherry at a special hockey event two-and-a-half weeks ago was against the rules.
The company that runs the centre, Global Spectrum, said he’s no longer welcome in the building in his capacity as a volunteer with Rogers TV, which covers OHL games there.
The edict has outraged Billy’s father, Bill Steele, who has filed a human rights complaint alleging workplace discrimination in the workplace because his son has a severe learning disability.
And Cherry is “infuriated” with Global Spectrum over the incident.
“I resent the fact that (they’ve) brought my name into firing a young kid who comes up and asks me about my ties,” he said in a phone interview.
The brief encounter on Jan. 14 wasn’t an issue for the flamboyant host of Hockey Night in Canada commentator.
“Oh, geez, please, me complain? I love it when kids come up and are friendly like that. I welcome kids — that’s why I wear those goofy ties,” he said, offering to talk to Global Spectrum to get Billy his job back.
Although Cherry didn’t complain about the incident, Billy had been warned “numerous times” about violating procedures, which include not initiating conversations with athletes and celebrities, said Vince Vella, general manager of the city-owned sports and entertainment facility. The Cherry chat was the latest in a series of infractions, he said.