20 November 2010
The passing of Pat Burns was a sad moment for the NHL and its fans. Sad not only because he was a great coach and hockey personality that has been taken from us, but sad because no one with authority saw it fit to take any initiative to get him into the Hockey Hall of Fame before his passing.
Due to his recurring cancer bouts, Burns himself had come out and said he was no longer going to fight the cancer and that he knew his “time” would be coming soon enough. Because of this, people who admired Burns wanted to see him get inducted into the Hall of Fame while he was still alive so he could live to see this prestigious achievement.
And this wasn’t just a sentimental story; not a, “he has cancer so let’s do something nice for him before he dies” type deal. He had a career record of 501-350-161-14, went to two Stanley Cup Finals and won the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 2003. The man had Hall of Fame Credentials.
A Facebook group page named “Let’s Get Pat Burns into the Hockey Hall of Fame - NOW!” surfaced in late March and has since garnered over 70,000 members. Essentially a petition over 70,000 people have signed, the numbers weren’t enough to convince those who vote for the Hall of Fame ballot to elect him in, nor were enough for him to be given an honorary induction, regardless of the votes.
Now that he’s passed away, I wouldn’t be surprised to start seeing Hall of Fame officials tripping over themselves to get him in there now, and if not now, then get him in during next year’s voting process.
It’s a shame no one exercised enough initiative, authority and/or interest to get this deserving man into the Hall before he passed on. Hopefully, though, sometime in the near future, the right thing will be done and he will make his way into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
With utmost respect, rest in peace Mr. Pat Burns and thank you for what you brought to hockey.
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