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Father of teen fired over Cherry chat files complaint

Don Cherry loves it when kids talk to him. But an Oshawa, Ont., teenhas been banned from his job as a volunteer cameraman at the GeneralMotors Centre for doing just that.

Don Cherry loves it when kids talk to him. But an Oshawa, Ont., 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 at a special hockey event on Jan. 14 was against the rules. The company that runs the centre, Global Spectrum, said he’s no longer welcome in the building as a volunteer with Rogers TV, which covers OHL games there.

The edict has outraged Billy’s father, Bill Steele, who’s filed a human rights complaint alleging workplace discrimination because his son has a severe learning disability.

And Cherry is “infuriated” with Global Spectrum over the incident.

“I resent the fact that (it’s) brought my name into firing a young kid who comes up and asks me about my ties,” said the host of Hockey Night in Canada in a phone interview.

“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.

Although Cherry didn’t complain about the incident, Billy had been warned “numerous times” about violating procedures, said Vince Vella, general manager of the city-owned sports and entertainment facility.

“This young man ... continuously fails to comply.”

Vella said the matter will be reviewed next year, but for now Billy can work in Rogers’ truck in the parking lot. Rogers could not be reached for comment.

The teen, who said the “no-talk policy” was news to him, is crushed. He says his unpaid job at “Rogers College,” where he also did a co-op placement last fall, was his ticket to a career.

“I’m one of their top cameramen,” he said proudly. “I want to get a job there one day.”

 
 
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