On November 19, 2010, National Hockey League coaching sensation Pat Burns passed away at the age of 58 after losing a fight to lung cancer.
The Quebec native started his coaching career with the Montreal Canadiens in the 1988- 89 season. He was 36 at the beginning of the season. The team was the Prince of Wales Conference Champions at the end of his first season. After four seasons in Montreal he went to the Toronto Maple Leafs for four seasons. He followed his time in Toronto with four years with the Boston Bruins. His last two years of coaching were with the New Jersey Devils where he earned an opportunity to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup at the end of the 2002-03 season. He left the NHL at the end of the 2003-04 season. He was awarded with the Jack Adams, or coach of the year award three times. His career ended with 501 wins and 353 losses.
Burns’ non-NHL life consisted of him being a Montreal police officer before he became the head coach of the Canadiens. In 2004 and 2005 he fought colon and liver cancer and thought he had beaten the disease. In 2009 doctors found the disease in his lungs.
“Just as they will remember Pat for his success as a coach, hockey fans also will remember his humor, his honesty, his humanity and his courage,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “As it mourns the loss of an outstanding contributor to the game, the National Hockey League sends heartfelt condolences to Pat’s family and friends.”