Pat Burns, 1952-2010
“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,” said Devils’ President/CEO/General Manager Lou Lamoriello. “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.”
Pat Burns served as the Devils’ head coach from June 13, 2002-July 8, 2005 before stepping down due to personal reasons. He became just the 11th individual in NHL history to reach the 1,000 games-coached mark on February 27, 2004, and was the ninth to reach the 500-win plateau on March 30, 2004. Burns led the club to a 46-26-10=108pt (.622) record and its third Stanley Cup Championship in 2002-03. He posted a career mark of 501-353-165 (.573) in 1,019 NHL games coached.
Burns’ previous NHL head coaching position included Boston from May 21, 1997 until October 25, 2000, leading the Bruins to two trips to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In 1997-98, he became the first coach in history to win three Jack Adams Awards as the league’s top coach, leading Boston to a 39-30-13=91pt mark. Burns coached Toronto from May 29, 1992 through March 5, 1996 and posted two forty-win campaigns, leading the Maple Leafs to the conference championship following the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons. In his first season with Toronto, he led the Leafs to a franchise-record 32-point improvement, and received the Adams Award for the second time. Burns became just the third individual to win multiple Adams Awards and only the second to win it with more than one team.
His first NHL head coaching experience was with Montreal from 1988-89 through 1991-92. Burns led the Canadiens to a league-leading 174-104-42 (.609) mark during that time, including two 41-win seasons and a 53-18-9=115pt (.719) mark in 1988-89. In his first season with the Canadiens, he led the team to the Stanley Cup Finals and won his first Adams Award.
Burns was promoted to the position of Montreal’s head coach after spending one season with the AHL’s Sherbrooke Canadiens in 1987-88. He served as head coach of Hull (QMJHL) for four seasons from 1983-84 through 1986-87, including a trip to the Memorial Cup in 1986. Burns was selected to coach the QMJHL All-Star Team on two occasions and served as an assistant coach of the 1986 Canadian National Junior Team. An arena being built in Stanstead, Quebec will bear his name and was dedicated on March 26, 2010. Prior to his coaching career, Burns served as a police officer in Gatineau, Quebec. He was born April 4, 1952 in St. Henri, Quebec.
Pat Burns is survived by his beloved wife, Line, his daughter, Maureen, son, Jason, stepdaughter, Stephanie, stepson, Maxime, and grandson, Samuel.
Funeral arrangements will be announced over the next few days.