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Pat Burns

Pat Burns
Hockey Hall of Fame, 2014
Born (1952-04-04)April 4, 1952
Montreal, QC, CAN
Died November 19, 2010(2010-11-19) (aged 58)
Sherbrooke, QC, CAN
Playing career 1988–2005

Patrick John Joseph Burns[1] (April 4, 1952 – November 19, 2010) was a National Hockey League head coach. Over 14 seasons between 1988 and 2004, he coached in 1,019 games with the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, and New Jersey Devils. Burns retired in 2005 after being diagnosed with recurring cancer, which eventually claimed his life five years later.

In 2014, he was posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.[2]


  • Professional career 1
  • Personal life 2
  • Death 3
  • Legacy 4
  • Coaching record 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Professional career

As a child, Burns had always wanted to play on a NHL team, and win the Stanley Cup. Once he realized he didn't possess the skill set to make it professional, Burns became a police officer. He had also worked part time as a scout for the Hull Olympiques of the QMJHL.[3] He would later take on the role as assistant coach in 1984. He eventually worked his way through the ranks, and would become the team's head coach, after owner Wayne Gretzky and general manager Charles Henry decided he'd be the best fit.[3] During his time with the Olympiques, he would coach future Hockey Hall of Fame member Luc Robitaille. Before the start of the 87-88 NHL season, Canadiens GM Serge Savard approached Burns and offered him the head coach position for the Sherbrooke Canadiens of the American Hockey League. He held the position for one year before being offered a new job, head coach of the Montreal Canadiens.

The Canadiens would finish the season with a division winning 53-18-9, and would make it to the Stanley Cup finals, losing in six games to the Calgary Flames. Burns would win the Jack Adams Award for best coach of the year, as a rookie. It was his first of three wins.[4] He would lead Montreal to the second round of the playoffs in every year as head coach, before making a shocking resignation at the end of the 1992 season, citing his frustration with the media.[5]

Following his departure from Montreal, Burns was hired as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has also received an offer from the Los Angeles Kings, but he cited the Leafs' history as a factor in his decision, and added "I find myself fortunate to coach two of the greatest franchises in NHL history."[6] He would lead Toronto in their best playoff run since 1967, making it to the conference finals, losing in seven games to the Kings. At the NHL Awards, Burns won his second Jack Adam trophy. He would follow that performance with another trip to the conference finals in 1994, losing in five to the Vancouver Canucks. The Leafs would again make the playoffs in 1995, but following a disappointing losing streak during the 1996 season, Burns was let go.

Burns would take a year off from hockey before being hired to coach the Boston Bruins in 1997. He won the Jack Adams for a third time at the end of the season, making him the only coach in history to win the award three separate times. All three of his wins came in his introductory season with the team. The Bruins would continue to have success until the 1998–99 season, where they missed the playoffs. This marked the first time in Burns' career where his team missed the playoffs.[7] Burns was fired eight games into the 1999–2000 season, following a disappointing 3-4-1 record.

Burns would finish his head coaching career with the

Preceded by
Jacques Demers
Winner of the Jack Adams Award
Succeeded by
Bob Murdoch
Preceded by
Pat Quinn
Winner of the Jack Adams Award
Succeeded by
Jacques Lemaire
Preceded by
Ted Nolan
Winner of the Jack Adams Award
Succeeded by
Jacques Martin
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Jean Perron
Head coach of the Montreal Canadiens
Succeeded by
Jacques Demers
Preceded by
Tom Watt
Head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs
Succeeded by
Mike Murphy
Preceded by
Steve Kasper
Head coach of the Boston Bruins
Succeeded by
Mike Keenan
Preceded by
Kevin Constantine
Head coach of the New Jersey Devils
Succeeded by
Larry Robinson
  • Pat Burns's career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
  • Line Burns Biography

External links

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [Pat Burns among six named in Hockey Hall of Fame 2014 induction class "Pat Burns, hockey coaching legend, dead at 58"] .  
  4. ^ "Pat Burns, Stanley Cup winner, dies at 58".  
  5. ^ "Former Leafs coach Pat Burns dies at 58".  
  6. ^ "Pat Burns, Builder Category".  
  7. ^ "Former NHL coach Pat Burns dies".  
  8. ^ "A cop, a coach, that's all Pat Burns was".  
  9. ^ New Jersey Devils: Coaching Staff (Pat Burns, Special Assignment Coach)
  10. ^ "Pat Burns, hockey coaching legend, dead at 58".  
  11. ^ Former NHL Coach Pat Burns Has Lung Cancer, January 23, 2009
  12. ^ Chere, Rich (September 23, 2009). "Burns keeps on fighting".  
  13. ^ DiManno, Rosie (April 9, 2010). "DiManno: Former Leafs coach Pat Burns admits end is near". The Star (Toronto). 
  14. ^ QMI Agency (September 16, 2010). "Pat Burns' health worsens: reports". Toronto Sun. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Canadian Press (September 17, 2010), """Pat Burns: "Ils tentent de m'achever avant mon décès, Cyberpresse (in French), retrieved September 17, 2010 
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Pat Burns s'éteint à l'âge de 58 ans" (in French). RDS. November 19, 2010. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
  21. ^ The Spec (November 30, 2010), Pat Burns' car looted after funeral 
  22. ^ "Stolen jerseys returned to Burns family". Toronto Sun. December 16, 2010. Retrieved January 12, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Top 15 NHL Coaches of All Time". Canada: TheSportster. September 9, 2015. Retrieved October 25, 2015. 
  24. ^ "10 Best NHL Coaches of the Past 20 Years".  
  25. ^ "Pat Burns honoured with Quebec hockey arena". Canada: CBC. March 26, 2010. Retrieved March 26, 2010. 
  26. ^ media coverage
  27. ^ "LATE COACH BURNS HEADLINES HOCKEY HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2014". Canada: TSN. June 24, 2014. Retrieved June 23, 2014. 


See also

Team Year Regular season Post-season
G W L T OTL Pts Finish Result
Montreal Canadiens 1988–89 80 53 18 9 - 115 1st in Adams Lost in Stanley Cup final
Montreal Canadiens 1989–90 80 41 28 11 - 93 3rd in Adams Lost in second round
Montreal Canadiens 1990–91 80 39 30 11 - 89 2nd in Adams Lost in second round
Montreal Canadiens 1991–92 80 41 28 11 - 93 1st in Adams Lost in second round
Toronto Maple Leafs 1992–93 84 44 29 11 - 99 3rd in Norris Lost in third round
Toronto Maple Leafs 1993–94 84 43 29 12 - 98 2nd in Central Lost in third round
Toronto Maple Leafs 1994–95 48 21 19 8 - 50 4th in Central Lost in first round
Toronto Maple Leafs 1995–96 65 25 30 10 - (80) 3rd in Central (fired)
Boston Bruins 1997–98 82 39 30 13 - 91 2nd in Northeast Lost in first round
Boston Bruins 1998–99 82 39 30 13 - 91 3rd in Northeast Lost in second round
Boston Bruins 1999–2000 82 24 33 19 6 73 5th in Northeast Did not qualify
Boston Bruins 2000–01 8 3 4 1 0 (88) 4th in Northeast (fired)
New Jersey Devils 2002–03 82 46 20 10 6 108 1st in Atlantic Won Stanley Cup
New Jersey Devils 2003–04 82 43 25 12 2 100 2nd in Atlantic Lost in first round
Total 1019 501 353 151 14 - -

Coaching record

On March 26, 2010, a fan-based Facebook campaign was launched to get Burns inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on the merits of his coaching record, but before he succumbed to cancer. The Let's Get Pat Burns into the Hockey Hall of Fame – NOW! Facebook group attracted over 39,000 members in its first week and received across Canada and the United States.[26] In its second week the number of hockey fans calling for Burns' induction grew to over 54,000. As of October 22, 2010, that number was at 71,307. Nevertheless, the attempts to get Burns into the Hockey Hall of Fame did not succeed as he was not selected for the 2010 class of inductees. On June 23, 2014, Burns was announced as one of the inductees into the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2014.[27]

In 2011, an arena bearing Burns' name was built at Stanstead College, a private boarding school in the Eastern Townships.[25]

Ever since his retirement, Burns has been frequently mentioned as one of the best coaches in the history of the National Hockey League, often appearing in lists and discussions between fans and sports websites.[23][24]


Shortly after his funeral, thieves broke into Burns' widow's car, stealing personal belongings, credit cards and numerous pieces of hockey memorabilia, including 30 autographed NHL jerseys that were to be auctioned for charity.[21] Some of the items were later recovered.[22]

He died on November 19, 2010, in Sherbrooke, Quebec, at the Maison Aube-Lumière, of colon cancer which eventually spread to his lungs.[18][19][20]

It was reported on September 16, 2010, that Burns' health had suddenly deteriorated and that he had returned to his home in Magog, Quebec, to be with his family.[14] Reports surfaced the following day that Burns had died that morning, but Burns' son denied news reports that his father had died. That same day, an online report by the Toronto Sun also incorrectly reported Burns' death, but was quickly revealed to be erroneous.[15] Burns himself talked to both English and French media about the incident, denying that he had died and asked that his status be clarified immediately.[16][17]


He was married to Line Burns. He had two children, a son from a long-term relationship and a daughter from a previous marriage.

[13]."Mario Lemieux or Wayne Gretzky During an April 2010 interview Burns stated "I know my life is nearing its end and I accept that." Gesturing to a group of local minor hockey players, he said: "A young player could come from Stanstead who plays in an arena named after me. I probably won't see the project to the end, but let's hope I'm looking down on it and see a young [12] Burns survived

Before his career in hockey, he was a police officer in Gatineau. Burns originally studied to be a welder, but became a cop after hearing they were in need for positions. Burns had lied about his age to get the job, stating he was 18 when in actuality, he was 17.[3] He would hold the position for sixteen years.[10]

The Burns family moved to Gatineau, Quebec, following the death of Alfred in an industrial incident, when Pat was 4 years olf.[3]

Burns was born in Montreal to Geralda "Louise" Girardeau and Alfred Burns. Pat was the youngest of 6 children, he has 4 older sisters and 1 older brother (Violet, Alfred "Sonny", Lillian, Phyllis and Diane). Although both his parents were English Eastern Townshippers originally from the hometown of Stanstead, who came to live in Montreal. Pat's brother Alfred "Sonny" Burns still resides in Stanstead.

Personal life


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