This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing to use this website, you consent to our use of these cookies.
Arena

About Pat Burns

Pat Burns
April 4, 1952 - November 19, 2010

Version français
Pat Burns was born in Montreal, but grew up in Gatineau, Quebec. At the young age of 17, he became a police officer. However, he always remained connected to hockey by coaching youth minor hockey and then later becoming a scout for the Hull Olympic of the QMJHL.

Hockey Career

In 1984, Burns’ legacy was just becoming a reality. He was convinced by Wayne Gretzky to leave his sixteen-year career as a police officer to become the head coach for the Hull Olympics. After three successful years as head coach in Gatineau, Serge Savard, general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, asked Burns to consider taking on the head coach position of the Sherbrooke Canadiens, the AHL affiliate team for the CH.
 
After one short season with the Sherbrooke Canadiens, Burns was hired as the head coach for the Montreal Canadiens.

"Six years before, I had bought scalper's tickets to watch the Canadiens play at the Forum," he recalled. "I sat in the blues and watched Bob Gainey, Larry Robinson, Bobby Smith and Mats Naslund. Six years later, I'm behind their bench!" (Hockey Hall of Fame)

In his rookie season with the Canadiens, Burns brought the team to the Stanley Cup Finals. Unfortunately, the team lost in game 6 to the Calgary Flames. However, Pat Burns was awarded the Jack Adams Award, presented annually to the NHL coach “adjudged to have contributed the most to the team’s success.”
"Six years before, I had bought scalper's tickets to watch the Canadiens play at the Forum," he recalled. "I sat in the blues and watched Bob Gainey, Larry Robinson, Bobby Smith and Mats Naslund. Six years later, I'm behind their bench!" (Hockey Hall of Fame)
Burns spent four seasons with the Canadiens before moving on to the Toronto Maple Leafs coaching staff as head coach. Again, in his first season with the team, he was awarded the Jack Adams Award after bringing Toronto to the Conference Finals.
 
The 1997-1998 season, the Boston Bruins hired Burns as the head coach. For the third time in his career, Pat Burns won the Jack Adams Award after bringing the Boston Bruins to the Conference Finals.

After being let go by the Bruins, Burns became the head coach of the New Jersey Devils. In his first year with the team, Burns finally made his dream come true by winning the Stanley Cup. He spent two years with the Devils and retired due to his health in 2005.
 
Pat Burns spent 14 seasons coaching in the NHL and had 11 playoff runs, with one single run ending with The Cup. His final record was 501 wins, 350 losses, 161 ties and 14 overtime losses in 1,019 regular season games. In 2014, Burns was honoured posthumously into the Hockey Hall of Fame. To this day, he still holds the record for the most Jack Adams Awards won and “will forever be regarded as one of the toughest competitors to stand behind an NHL bench.”


Home Away From Home

Pat’s career took him all over North America, but he never really left the Eastern Townships, maintaining homes on the Lake Memphremagog. It was here that many local fans got to see Pat’s giving side. A guitar player and a motorcycle enthusiast, Pat would often drive from Montreal, even Boston, to play pick-up hockey with his pals at the old Stanstead College Arena.
 
Pat also served as honorary president of the fundraising campaigns for the Aube-Lumiere cancer hospice in Sherbrooke and came out to support Stanstead’s Muscular Dystrophy Softball Tournaments in the early nineties.
 
“I did that for a few years,” he said in an interview in early 2010. “I’d come out and throw the first pitch, sign autographs, talk to fans. I feel it’s important to give back to the community when you can.”
 
When the Devils won the Cup in ’03, Pat brought it “home” to Magog, where he greeted local fans and the press at the yacht club.
 
In 2008, the Town of Stanstead and Stanstead College started to discuss building a new arena. It was in November 2009 that Pat Burns agreed to lend his name and profile to the arena. Unfortunately, on November 19, 2010, Pat Burns lost his third battle with cancer. When he passed away, he was surrounded by his family at La Maison Aube-Lumière in Sherbrooke. 

He was never able to see the finished product, but Pat Burns' legacy lives on, and generations of hockey players will know who Pat Burns was.