As we discussed earlier today, many prominent hockey people converged in Montreal to celebrate Pat Burn’s life and attend his funeral this afternoon.
The funeral took place at the Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, a “scaled down replica of Saint Peter’s basilica in Rome.”
The Canadian Press reports that many hockey greats were on hand, including players who were influenced by Burns during his 1,000+ game career as an NHL career. Commissioner Gary Bettman joined a group that included the entire New Jersey Devils roster and former greats including Raymond Bourque, Patrick Roy, Tie Domi and Luc Robitaille. Front office members who attended the event included Brian Burke and Cliff Fletcher.
There was a common theme to the descriptions — that of a man with a booming voice, an equally big heart, and a knack for winning.
“His bark sometimes was a little louder than his bite, but he could actually bark pretty loud. But he could also have the other side, that was understanding and supportive,” said Bourque, the legendary Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche defenceman.
“He was fun to play for. I really loved him and he was the best defensive coach I’ve ever had.”
Bourque also addressed what many in the hockey world consider a historic slight: “(He’s) a guy that probably should have been in the Hall of Fame this past year and will be in the Hall of Fame someday.”
It’s a shame that if Burns will be inducted, it will be on a posthumous basis. There’s always a large sense of sadness when that happens and the opportunity was there with the 2010 HHOF class.
Ultimately, focusing on that won’t change anything, though. Burns had a fantastic career as a coach, something that the hockey world recognized today.