Posted on April 6, 2010 by Liz

In doing a great deal of work with the marketing department at Steam Whistle, I am always astounded at all the wonderful events and causes we sponsor. Never has work and pleasure been mixed so perfectly than a couple of weeks ago. We sponsored the premiere of Keep Your Head Up, Kid: The Don Cherry Story. I was fortunate enough to be sent to the CBC building, armed with 100 liters of beer, to set up a bar for the approximately 150 guests of the premiere. Everyone was buzzing around, and the excitement was palpable. It was my first time in the Hockey Night in Canada studios that I see every week on TV. On my way out I was able to catch a glimpse of “Grapes” himself, in the midst of a throng of media.

I was also fortunate enough to be invited to the event where I realized a dream of mine. Ask most beer drinkers and they will have a list of people that they would like to have a beer with. Don Cherry is one of the most popular choices, and he was on my list! Love him or hate him (there aren’t many who are indifferent!) the man is an icon. A wealth of stories from a life in hockey, I would have been happy just to shake his hand! When he arrived I was touched by how approachable he was. He posed for pictures with all the kids, tousling their hair and asking them if they played hockey. I approached him for a photo, which he was gracious enough to pose for. Then disaster struck! My camera stopped working! Fortunately my girlfriend came to the rescue with her camera phone, so there is evidence, if a little blurry, of this meeting. I gave Mr. Cherry a Steam Whistle hockey jersey that he was very enthusiastic to receive. He declined a beer, but enjoyed seeing me slam one back. And at 76 years of age the man still has an iron handshake.

Ben Taylor and Don Cherry

Ben Taylor and Don Cherry

It was encouraging to see the excitement on everyone’s faces. I looked around and saw a Steam Whistle in almost every hand. The cast and crew were present, including Don’s son Tim Cherry, who wrote the film. It is a touching, honest portrayal of the difficult life of a minor league hockey player and the balance between hockey and family. And it is essentially a love story, between Don and his late wife Rose.

The film itself is wonderfully done, and very Canadian. The hockey scenes are masterfully filmed. It can been seen here.