Ex-NHL Coach Pat Burns on Reports of His Death: "I'm Alive"

Adam HirshfieldFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2010

10 Oct 1998:  Coach Pat Burns of the Boston Bruins looks on during a game against the St. Louis Blues at the Kiel Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The game was a tie 3-3. Mandatory Credit: Steve Babineau  /Allsport
Steve Babineau/Getty Images

As Mark Twain once suggested, "The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated."

Such was the case Friday with former NHL coach Pat Burns.

The former coach, 58, who spent parts of 14 seasons leading the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, and New Jersey Devils, has been battling various forms of cancer for about six years. 

It was reported on Thursday, Sept. 16, that Burns' health had deteriorated and that he had returned to his Quebec home to be surrounded by members of his family.

Friday, several Internet reports surfaced saying that Burns—who was a police officer before his NHL career—had died. Obituaries also ran online, including on the Toronto Sun website, but they were subsequently taken down when it was confirmed that Burns was alive.

"Here we go again," the three-time Coach of the Year told TSN hockey columnist Bob McKenzie via telephone on Friday. "They're trying to kill me before I'm dead. I come to Quebec to spend some time with my family and they say I'm dead. I'm not dead, far [expletive] from it. They've had me dead since June. Tell them I'm alive. Set them straight."