Former NHL coach Pat Burns passed away on November 19, 2010 in Sherbrooke, Quebec. He was 58. Over the years, Burns worked with the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and the New Jersey Devils. He retired in 2005 suffering recurring battles with cancer which eventually claimed his life.
His NHL career began in 1988 with the Montreal Canadians. Over the years he won three Jack Adams Awards which is awarded annually to the NHL coach deemed to have contributed the most to his team’s success. Burns presided over the Devils when they won the Stanley Cup in 2003.
Apparently Burns started out with hopes of playing in the NHL but wasn’t good enough. He became a police officer and coached minor league. He climbed the ladder in both areas becoming a detective with the police and head coach of a local minor team. It was at this time he met Wayne Gretzky who urged him to go into hockey full time. Burns quit the police, started coaching a farm team for the Canadiens and after only one year found himself in the pro ranks.
Burns survived colon cancer in 2004 and liver cancer in 2005. In 2009, he acknowledged being diagnosed with cancer for a third time, this time lung cancer which was incurable and he decided against further treatment.
He is to be honoured with an arena to be built at Stanstead College, a private boarding school in the Eastern Townships in 2011.
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Wikipedia: Pat Burns