On Wednesday night, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke spoke to a crowd of 400 business students, teachers and hockey fans to publicize a new book, “Behind the Moves: NHL General Managers Tell how Winner are Built.”
The talk delved deeply into Burke’s playing history, which included a stint at Providence College (from 1973-75) under then-Friars head coach/current New Jersey Devils CEO, President and GM Lou Lamoriello.
For the uninitiated, Lamoriello is something of a legend within hockey circles for his hard-nosed approach to contract negotiations and stern disciplinary methods.
With that in mind, here’s an anecdote from Burke (courtesy the National Post):
“When I played at Providence College, we played West Point, we played the U.S. military academy, at West Point. Now, this is the ’70s, we’re playing teams with guys who have hair down to here [points to shoulders]. Our hair is not allowed to touch our ear. Like, I just got a haircut today so that Lou won’t call me and tell me I need a haircut.”
Burke pointed to his freshly trimmed sideburns and continued.
“So we’re playing the cadets. We’re at centre ice and their guys skate over: ‘Hey man, what’s with the hair? We HAVE to do this. What’s with you guys?’
And we’re like, ‘we HAVE to do it, too.”
Here’s an artistic rendering of how Burke’s haircut was believed to look at the time:
As for the rest of the speech, it’s definitely worth reading, if only for the story about LouLam’s butter rations.