Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A farewell to an iconic Canadian coach

Monday brought the hockey world together in Montreal, a celebration of the life of Pat Burns, take far too early from the game he loved and the players and league personnel that ever worked with or for him.

The coach who never seemed to leave the police beat far behind from his days in Gatineau, was remembered not only for his coaching skills and ability to relate to his players, but for his passion for the game and sense of humour that he brought to it, though you suspect that for more than a few players over the years, that sense of humour may have been cleverly disguised.

Tuesday's news reviews were full of anecdotes and remembrances of events during his days of coaching whether it was in his junior days with Hull, or when he moved quickly into the ranks of pro hockey with Montreal, Toronto, Boston and New Jersey.

As a sign of tribute to the kind of force he had been the entire New Jersey Devils team was in attendance at his funeral mass at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral in Montreal, they were joined by a galaxy of past NHL stars, current General Managers and Presidents as well as league officials including Commissioner Gary Bettman, beyond hockey personalities there were politicians and former co workers from the days that Burns walked a beat or served as a detective with the Gatineau police force.

All gathered to recount those moments that brought their path across his, making many of them better we suspect for the journey shared.

Unfortunately, the special remembrance has been marred by a callous and despicable act of selfishness from the streets of Montreal, as  the Burns family car was broken in the overnight period following the service, with a number of items and mementos stolen.

Considering the fondness that both the hockey and police community have for their former partner, one suspects that this one thief that would be best to turn over the ill gotten goods as soon as possible and then find the deepest hole in which to hide.

The last week has been a hard one for many that enjoyed following the career of the former beat cop turned hockey coach, with many making mention of the remarkable oversight of the Hockey Hall of Fame this year with their refusal to list Pat Burns as a nominee for induction, a mistake that they will now have to carry on their shoulders for many years to come.

While he may not be in the Hall today,  there's no mistaking the idea that for all intents and purposes with hockey fans Burns is already a Hall of Famer, plaque or not.

Below some of the highlights of the remembrances of his career .

NHL.com-- Hockey World Celebrates Burns' Life
Star Ledger-- Devils awed by diverse turnout at Pat Burns funeral
Toronto Sun-- Habs share favourite Pat Burns stories
Montreal Gazette-- Former Habs coach Pat Burns never backed down
Toronto Star-- Pat Burns, 58: A man's man with a tender heart
Toronto Star-- Burns gone but not forgotten
Globe and Mail-- Hockey royalty gathers in Montreal for Pat Burns funeral
Globe and Mail-- A cop, a coach, that's all Pat Burns was
Globe and Mail-- Hockey fans unite in tribute to Pat Burns
National Post-- Hockey world gathers in Montreal for Burns' funeral
National Post-- Reactions: Hockey world, fans mourn death of Pat Burns
Vancouver Province-- Funeral for 'tough as nails' Pat Burns recalls coach's strength, integrity
The Hockey News-- Coach Pat Burns laid to rest in an urn that's a miniature Stanley Cup replica
CBC-- Pat Burns funeral draws hundreds

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