Hockey Loses A True Ambassador

The hockey world suffered a huge loss on Friday when former coach, Pat Burns, lost his brave battle with lung cancer. Burns, who was only 58, was first diagnosed with colon and liver cancer in 2004 and 2005, before being diagnosed with incurable lung cancer in January 2009. Burns is the only coach in NHL history to win the Jack Adams Trophy for three different teams (Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins) He enjoyed his greatest hockey moment in 2003 when he led the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup. Even though he had to step down as coach in 2004 due to illness, Burns remained employed by the Devils as a consultant. “On behalf of the ownership, management, staff and players of the New Jersey Devils, we are all deeply saddened by the loss of Pat Burns,” Devils President Lou Lamoriello said. “Pat was a close friend to us all, while dedicating his life to his family and the game of hockey. He has been part of our family here in New Jersey for eight years.” Burns also had success in coaching the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins during his career behind the bench. In Montreal he led them to the Stanley Cup finals in 1989. He also worked his magic in Toronto three years later by leading them to the first of back to back Stanley Cup Conference Finals appearances. In Boston he took a franchise, that was struggling at the time, and led them to the Stanley Cup playoffs. Overall Burns, who was in law enforcement before becoming an NHL coach, registered a coaching record of 501-353-165 in 1,095 games. Most importanlty, he gained total respect wherever he went. “Pat forged a tremendous bond, not only with a very good veteran team in Toronto, but also with Leafs’ fans everywhere,” said Cliff Fletcher, the Leafs former general manager. “He commanded respect from the players, and the team quickly had great success while taking on the identity of the head coach.” Other positive comments about Burns came out of Boston from former Bruins power forward and current President, Cam Neely, who said “The Bruins are honored to have him as part of our history.” Numerous fans pushed through online petitions to have Burns enshrined into the Hockey Hall Of Fame this past November, but unfortunately wasn’t elected. Prayers and condolences go out to his survivors – wife Line – daughter Maureen – son Jason – stepdaughter Stephanie and stepson Maxime.

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