It sounds crazy in light of his most recent outburst, but according to an open letter from Robin Herman, Don Cherry was the first coach in the NHL to let a female reporter in the locker room.

Herman was the first female sports reporter for The New York Times and she covered the NHL beat in the mid-to-late 70s. At the 1975 All Star Game in Montreal, she was the first woman ever in an NHL locker room, but that was a one-time deal. Even after, she was prevented entry to every locker room she covered.

I was a 23-year-old kid in a tough situation. Getting prompt postgame interviews with the players was crucial to my ability to do my job. The Times was a morning newspaper, and I faced a draconian deadline of 11 p.m. I had maybe 40 minutes after the game ended, if I was lucky, to fax in a complete story. Every minute spent waiting for a team official to bring a player out of the locker room to speak to me separately in some dank hallway was excruciating.

Then the Bruins and Cherry—who coached Boston from 1974-1979—made it team policy that female reporters would be allowed in the locker room. Other teams soon followed Boston's lead and female reporters' access to locker rooms eventually became NHL policy. Most of us have never looked back.


According to Robin Herman, we have Don Cherry—whom she called her hero—to thank for that.

Don Cherry, you were my hero [ESPNW]