Even if you're not much of a hockey fan, you're in for a real TV treat as ESPN adds "Hockey Night in Canada" announcer and commentator Don Cherry to SportsCenter beginning with the Flyers-Penguins Eastern Conference playoff series tomorrow.

Cherry, whose nickname is Grapes, is simply not to be missed, if only for his sartorial shock-value, which as you can see here is so brilliant that Cherry himself has to wear sunglasses. Plus, you just never know what Cherry is going to say although the full weight of controversy may be lost on those unfamiliar with hockey culture and sensitive issues North of the Border.

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For instance, Cherry once caused an uproar when he suggested that players who wore helmet visors were mostly "Europeans and French guys." Now, this may not resonate much with a lot of non-hockey folks but Cherry was implying that European and French-Canadian players were more cavalier about player safety because they were prone to high-sticking and the visors were protection from retaliation. The furor had Cherry in trouble with broadcast and government officials -- although the stats did show he was partially correct.

If you've never seen him, I'm tellin' ya, Cherry makes the likes of Sean Salisbury and Charles Barkley appear tame by comparison. Cherry is an advocate of what he calls "rock 'em, sock 'em" hockey and here's a sample of a Cherry riff from last year:

"The fans love the fights, the players love the fights, the people go nuts on the fights ... but I'm told the reason they cut it down is because they wanted U.S.A people to watch it. Family! Can you believe that?  That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life. U.S.! NASCAR -- where there's crashing. Football -- kill the quarterback! Ultimate fighting!  Who's kidding who?"

His wardrobe is just as colorful as some of his opinions as you can see here and here and here and here (with his pet bull terrier Blue). Cherry is donating his ESPN fee to the Humane Society.

Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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