Former NHL and New Jersey Devils head coach Pat Burns lost his battle with cancer on Friday at the age of 58, reportedly passing away with his friends and family at his side. Burns suffered from colon cancer which had spread to his lungs, but he was a fighter up until the day of his death.
In his 14 seasons as a coach in the NHL between 1988 and 2004, Burns compiled a record of 501-350-161-14 in 1,019 games with the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, and New Jersey Devils. Burns death especially hits home with many Devils players because he guided the team to the Stanley Cup in 2003. Burns stepped down from coaching the New Jersey Devils in 2005 due to his worsening illness. He remained a special assignment coach with the team up until his death.
Some quotes and reflections found around the internet from Devils’ players on the reaction to Coach Burns’ death:
New Jersey Devils President/CEO/General Manager Lou Lamoriello:
On behalf of the ownership, management, staff, and players of the New Jersey Devils, we are all deeply saddened by the loss of Pat Burns. Pat was a close friend to us all, while dedicating his life to his family and to the game of hockey. He has been part of our family here in New Jersey for eight years. Today, the hockey world has lost a great friend and ambassador. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Line, and the entire Burns’ family.
Former New Jersey Devils player John Madden:
Pat and I got along great, it was just a great time we had in Jersey and he was probably the best coach I ever had. I know he was very ill. Maybe a month ago, there was that false report that he passed. Of course, he made a joke about it. he said, ‘Not yet.’ He’s always had a fighting spirit.
New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur:
It is with great sadness that I learn the death of Pat Burns. We’ve had some memorable moments together including the Stanley Cup in 2003. We became good friend and my wife Genevieve is a close friend of Line, Pat’s wife. We want to offer the Burns family our deepest sympathy. Our thoughts are with them in this event.
Burns is survived by his wife, Line, his daughter, Maureen, son, Jason, stepdaughter, Stephanie, stepson, Maxime, and grandson, Samuel. Funeral arrangements will be announced in the next few days.
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