NHL: Pat Burns Loses Long Battle with Cancer and Will Be Missed

Dave HaineContributor IIINovember 19, 2010

Pat Burns
Pat BurnsRichard Wolowicz/Getty Images

After a long battle with cancer, the future Hall of Famer passed away today. Pat had survived colon and liver cancer; however, lung cancer finally took Pat from us all. 

Sixty-two days ago there were many reports of Pat's death, which were false.  Pat himself called TSN's Bob Mackenzie to let the world know it wasn't his time just yet.  Sadly, today the world is without one of it's greatest men.

The NHL missed a great opportunity when they didn't elect Pat into the Hall of Fame this year. 

Pat's NHL stats are extremely impressive.  Over 14 seasons, Pat collected 501 wins while coaching the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils

Before coaching in the NHL, Pat was a Police Officer in Gattineau, Quebec.

Pat's coaching career did include the Hull Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Sherbrooke Canadiens of the American Hockey League.

Pat won the NHL's coach of the year award three times during his career.  Once with Montreal (1989), Toronto (1993) and Boston (1998).  

It took a number of years for Pat to win the Stanley Cup as he finally did in 2003 with the New Jersey Devils.  In Pat's rookie season as a head coach, he did lose in the Cup final with the Canadiens.

The month of November has added a new charity slogan—Movember—which is to aid the battle against prostate cancer.  Considering the timing of Pat Burns death and his long fight with cancer (starting with colon cancer in 2004), Movember is a month I will never forget.

I vote the NHL change the name of the NHL coach of the year award from the Jack Adams Trophy to the "Pat Burns Memorial Award".

"Just as they will remember Pat for his success as a coach, hockey fans also will remember his humour, his honesty, his humanity and his courage," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "As it mourns the loss of an outstanding contributor to the game, the National Hockey League sends heartfelt condolences to Pat's family and friends."

There is so much that can be said about Mr. Burns.  Let me just say this: Thank you, Pat!

It's a very sad day and I'm sure you all join me in passing on my condolences to the Burns family. 

Pat's value to the NHL, hockey in general and society will never be forgotten.

Pat Burns will be missed.