Pat Burns, April 4, 1952 – Nov. 19, 2010

Denis Brodeur, NHLI via Getty Images

Other coaches who have won the Jack Adams Trophy with three different teams:

Pat Burns did not live to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.


• The Canadiens’ statement:

The Canadiens organization was deeply saddened to learn that former head coach Pat Burns lost his long and courageous battle against cancer.

Burns, 58, died surrounded by his family at La Maison Aube-Lumière in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

Born on April 4, 1952 in Montreal’s St-Henri borough, Pat Burns played his way through the minor hockey ranks earning a brief stint with the London Knights of the OHL, before embarking on a career with the Gatineau police force. His passion for the game kept him in hockey as a minor hockey coach in the Outaouais area, and in 1983-84 he was called upon to coach the Hull Olympiques of the QMJHL where he served for four seasons, including a trip to the Memorial Cup in 1986 after posting a remarkable 54-18-0 regular season record.

Burns made his debut with the Montreal Canadiens’ organization in 1987 as head coach of the franchise’s main affiliate Sherbrooke Canadiens. He was promoted to the position of Montreal’s head coach after a single season in the AHL. In his first season behind the Habs’ bench, Burns led his troops to the Stanley Cup finals after a regular season record of 53-18-9 and his first Jack Adams award as Coach of the Year.

In 1992-93, following four seasons with the Canadiens, Burns took on the coaching duties with the Toronto Maple Leafs, leading the team to the Conference championship and earning his second Jack Adams award after leading the Leafs to a franchise-record 32-point improvement. Following a one-year hiatus in 1996-97, Burns is hired as head coach of the Boston Bruins and at the end of his first season he becomes the first head coach in NHL history to win three Jack Adams Awards. After four seasons in Boston, Burns accepts an offer to coach the New Jersey Devils in 2002-03 posting a .622 winning percentage and leading them to the Stanley Cup over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in a thrilling 7-game series.

Through his 15-season career as head coach in the NHL, only once did Pat Burns miss the playoffs (1999-2000 with the Bruins) while at the helm of his team. His overall numbers speak volumes of his character and dedication. Burns won 501 of the 1,019 games he coached, losing only 353 and tying 165 games. His record in the playoffs stands at 78 wins and 71 losses in 149 games.

Pat Burns is survived by his beloved wife Line, his daughter, Maureen and son Jason.



  1. smiler2729 says:

    Hey Pat,

    I’m raising a toast to you with a heavy heart, a tear welling and a smile ‘cuz you are the coolest to ever coach the Habs.

    Cheers coach…


  2. SeriousFan09 says:

    Hamilton Bulldogs tied 1-1 with the Rochester Americans, Alex Avtsin has his 2nd of the season assisted by Desharnais and Palushaj on the PP. I really, really like the potential of this kid.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  3. Propwash says:

    RIP Mr. Pat Burns. Huge loss to the game of hockey. :(


    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  4. alestar says:

    RIP Coach, you were one of the good ones.


    XXIV…and counting

  5. Danno says:

    I’m sure a fitting tribute is being worked on for tomorrow’s game. This game will be played in your honour Pat. May the players from both teams honour your memory by playing the game the way it was meant to be played.


    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  6. Psycho29 says:

    RIP Pat…

    A true hockey ambassador…..a true legend….

    The HHoF selection commitee should be ashamed that he wasn’t voted in this year.

    Here is his standing as far as Habs wins as a coach….


    Toe Blake
    Dick Irvin Sr.
    Scotty Bowman
    Cecil Hart
    Pat Burns
    Claude Ruel
    Jean Perron
    Guy Carbonneau 124
    Bob Berry
    Alain Vigneault


  7. StevieRay says:

    A dandy he was indeed … hockey has lost a great, honourable and respected coach …

  8. ShangaDoo says:

    Life is hard sometimes man.

    R.I.P Mr. Burns

    My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and everyone touched by him.

  9. tony d says:

    Sad day indeed, a fighter till the end. He’ll be missed.

  10. madcap_habsfan says:

    R.I.P. Mr. Burns



    -“People have to really suffer before they can risk doing what they love.” Chuck Palahniuk

  11. Kooch7800 says:

    Rest in Peace

  12. Clay4bc says:

    The fact that Pat Burns took the Leafs to the conference championships serves as testament to how great of a coach he was. Who else could elevate that loser franchise to play well?

    RIP Mr Burns!


    I had some hockey taglines, but I don’t know where the puck I put them.

  13. Matt_in_TO says:

    He’s at peace.  He put up one hell of a fight and I thought he would beat it again.  Prayers for him and his family.  Deep down I was hoping this was another false report as I really wanted to see him get into the HHOF.  The Habs will of course honour him with class and dignity.


    – In Price We Trust

  14. yathehabsrule says:

    Habs and Devils, as well as the NHL posted, his death right away. Lou and Bettman both made statements.

    Unless my browser is not refreshing right, the Leafs and Bruins official sites have yet to acknowledge it.


    Note the new digs! but yeah I’m still on Twitter!

  15. Fabio D says:

    Rest in Peace Mr. Burns. Condolences to his wife, children, friends and family.

    A great coach joins Heaven’s team.

    Tomorrow nights game, will have special meaning and hope the Habs in their usual fashion put on a fitting memorial.

    God Bless

  16. aemarchand11 says:

    The only coach in almost half a century to take the leafs to the Conference Finals. That Alone should have had him fast-tracked in the HHOF.

    Rest In Peace Pat Burns

  17. D Alcorn says:

    His no frills, no nonsense approach always struck me as very honest and genuine.

    It’s always sad when a good guy is taken, this is very sad …

    ALWAYS Habs –
    D Mex

  18. yathehabsrule says:

    I was just looking at the teams for tomorrow’s game, when I saw the news. Truly a sad day for hockey. RIP

    Should expect at least a moment of silence at the Bell Centre before tomorrow’s game. Fitting that the Leafs are in town for it.



    Note the new digs! but yeah I’m still on Twitter!

  19. careyprice says:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the Burns family. May he rest in paradise.

  20. kempie says:

    My sincere condolences to the family and to all who knew him. I always liked him as a coach and as a person. May he be in peace wherever he finds himself.

  21. Tag says:

    R.I.P. Pat Burns. You will not be forgotten.

  22. Chris79 says:

    Bless Pat Burns on his Journey to the Spirit world

    My Dad loved Mr.Burns with his in your face coaching attitude…yet so humble.

  23. habsonly says:

    I am sure Pat Burns will be inducted into the habs HHOF, as a great coach, and a great person. RIP Pat and god bless you, your family and loved ones.

    The HHOF really f’d up on a chance to honour you while you were with us. Your fans,the players and your peers know what you brought and gave to the game. Cheers Pat you are a true warrior!

  24. HabsFanInTampa says:

    R.I.P. Coach Burns.

  25. Ian Cobb says:

    We all knew this day was coming. The Bell Center will be draped in black and sadness tomorrow night,  he coached both teams that are playing.

    Montreal, always a first class organisation. Will honour his memory with us.

  26. Hockey Socks says:

    R.I.P. Pat!

    No better place to commemorate
    him than tomorrow night in Montreal – his hometown and where it all
    began. The Canadiens will do it right.

  27. SeriousFan09 says:

    Hopefully the Canadiens can arrange a proper pre-game ceremony of sorts in honour of him tommorow night.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  28. KenD29 says:

    Hockey has lost a good one. RIP Pat.


    Tonight we skate with them, Tonight is our night!

  29. iwardhabs says:

    When I was introduced to hockey, and la tricolore, as a wee kiddo in the ’80’s, I had only vague intimations of Jean Perron and the ’86 run.  But I remember Burns very well – being impressed, as a 9-year-old, that a former police officer was guiding my team to the finals, and also by how he always stood up for his players:

    My principal memories of him involve all those playoff series against Boston and Buffalo in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s (ah, the old days of the Adams Division) – he brought an incredible intensity to the bench.  It’s only fitting that he went on to an even greater career, which will see him inducted into the HoF, albeit posthumously (it’s sad that the Hall missed the opportunity to induct him earlier).  


  30. KenD29 says:

    He certainly brought some intensity behind the bench. Never forget the times he was going at it with the refs and opposing coaches.


    Tonight we skate with them, Tonight is our night!

  31. TheMock780 says:

    RIP Pat Burns. A coaching legend,

    Given the Habs always do it up better then anyone I’m sure they can put together a fitting tribute for Pat tomorrow night. And it’s fitting that the game is against the Leafs

  32. ths says:

    Get all the old boys in from his time and have a respectful silence then bring the place down with a big cheer to celebrate all that he was. R.I.P Pat. We wont forget you

    Ooh Aah Habs on the war path

  33. punkster says:

    Rest in peace.

  34. HardHabits says:

    This is a sad day. I am in tears right now while writing this. My condolences to the family. May you RIP Pat Burns, you were one the best coaches the Habs ever had.

  35. cunningdave says:

    I’ve just renamed my Movember the Pat Burns.  With sadness.

  36. observer says:

    Sad day great man. RIP. (Additional inappropriate comments removed)

  37. Fire_Laraque says:

    Nobody ever said that life was fair.  Very Sad day today.  A great soul gone before it`s time.  


    He showed courage, now lets show respect.


    RIP Pat, and have a great afterlife.



  38. HugeHabsFan says:

    My heart hurts today, and I can’t stop the tears from welling up.  Even though we all knew this was coming, it’s just really hard to accept.  He was not only a great coach, but from what I ever saw, a great man.  Thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and children and all his family and friends.

    RIP Pat Burns. You will never be forgotten.


    “Thank you Cammy for making my day even more amazing!”


    Cammalleri: “I almost feel bad for a guy who plays an NHL career without experiencing what it’s like to be a Montreal Canadien”.

  39. LA Loyalist says:

    Let us lift a glass tonight to our absent companion. We are diminished without him.

    Let us express ourselves to the HHOF that they have shamed us and we are further diminished. 

    It’s fitting that Pat has a community rink named for him, for he will always be in our hearts as part of our hockey community and the proud, proud history of The Montreal Canadiens.

    May the ovation tomorrow night be loud enough for him to hear.

    God bless you Pat and thank you for what you gave us. 



    “I coach hard work” – Pat Burns

  40. habs365 says:

    R.I.P. Pat! you were one of the great ones..we will miss you..but you will never be condolences to mrs. Burns and family.

  41. otter649 says:

    A sad day in The Hockey World – R.I.P.  Mr Pat Burns………..

  42. showey47 says:

    RIP Pat Burns,i loved the way he would get fired up behind the bench and got the most out his players with his hard-assed style. Only fitting we play the leafs tomorrow night to honor pat burns and on a night where the 50,000 game in nhl history will be played.

  43. habs-hampton says:


    Loved you coaching the Habs, hated you when you coached the Leafs and Bruins, cause you were so damned good!

    That’s 2 shameful acts by the powers that be this week.

    1. Pat not going into the Hall this year, knowing his health condition was a disgrace. (He should have been a lock anyway).

    2. The NHL not postponing the Sens-Car game this week was also shameful.


  44. Big Bird says:

    RIP Pat Burns.  You were a great coach who always demanded an honest effort from his players.

  45. Chuck says:

    And more often than not, he got it. If there was ever a coach who proved that hard work could triumph over mere talent, he was it.

    Centre Hice: documenting one fan’s attachment to the Montreal Canadiens

  46. EricInStL says:

    A big FU to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Shame on you. Bernie Federko in but Pat Burns out ?????

    For shame.

    By the way, Club the Hockey Canadiens you’re not off the hook for what you did to Bernie Geoffrion.

    A black eye to the organization.

    I will never forget.


  47. habguy says:

    hockey just lost a great coach and a really nice guy.

    Pat deserved a better fate.

    at least his pain is over . rest easy Pat .

    you’re in our hearts.

  48. Everlasting1 says:

    There’s one thing we can all agree on re Don Cherry. His outright disbelief at the lack of acknowledgement and support for Burns’ induction that he expressed about a month ago..very moving.


    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

    Don’t pollute the water.

  49. Mattyleg says:

    Yes indeed.

    There’ll be a few tears on Coach’s Corner on Saturday, that’s for sure.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  50. Mattyleg says:

    Made a similar post on the other thread, but want to say it here:

    I was always scared of him when I was a kid. When he stood on the bench with his eyebrows raised and that pished-off look in his eyes, I was glad (for a rare moment) that I didn’t play for the Monreal Canadiens!

    Montreal misses you already, and I hope you have a good seat in the sports bar in the sky!

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  51. Willy the bum says:

    The first game (TV or at the Forum) I ever seen in my life, Pat Burns was on the bench.  And I knew I was watching the best of games.  The team that time when Burns pushed to the limit, they always go all the way.  For me, exciting hockey started then.  Lets hope the Habs today are playing to the limit this Saturday, in honour of Burns.


    Burns will watch our game up in heavens…

  52. shootdapuck says:

    Hopefully he will be remembered more so as Pat Burns the man not only Pat Burns NHL coach. 



    “The three stars as selected by Red Fisher of the Montreal Star:
    1st star: Henri Richard
    2nd Star: Doug Harvey
    3rd Star: Jacques Plante

    Final score Detroit Red Wings 5 Montreal Canadiens 3”

  53. JohnBellyful says:

    Two images stand out when I think of Pat Burns – the scowl and the grin.

    He knew his stuff and how to get the best out of the teams he was given.

    Congratulations, Pat, on being admitted to the HHOF (no, not that one here on earth).

  54. Chuck says:

    “It is with deep sorrow that the Toronto Maple Leafs learned the passing
    of former coach Pat Burns, who passed away due to illness earlier today.”

    “Illness”. They make it sound like he had a head cold and the sniffles.


    Centre Hice: documenting one fan’s attachment to the Montreal Canadiens

  55. Everlasting1 says:

    Undoubtedly. And a fitting matchup of two teams he’s coached. It’ll be interesting to see if Cherry wears something appropriate..appropriately loud lol


    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

     Don’t pollute the water.

  56. StevieRay says:

    The Hogtown way …. must be politically correct !! Leafs = Horseshit !

  57. habsfan_foreverAndalways says:

    I am very saddened by the news. Burns was definitely a true
    legend in the game of hockey.  I want to
    give my condolences to his family. He will certainly be missed.


    Gone but, NOT forgotten.  


    R.I.P. Pat Burns

    ….a true legend, period.




    go habs go

  58. sidhu says:

    Unforgiveable that he was not inducted into the Hall this year.  The others were not suffering from a terminal illness, they could have waited.  Very shameful.

    Thank you Coach Burns!

  59. Willy the bum says:

    Leafs organization and fans can’t take these harsh words… like “cancer”…. or “loss”….

  60. Wayne says:

    My condolences to the Burns family.

  61. Matt_in_TO says:

    What else would you expect from the classless clueless morons at MLSE?


    – In Price We Trust

  62. HardHabits says:

    It’s nice to see that for one post we can all put our differences aside and agree on the same thing. I would like to commend everybody who has posted here for their heart-felt words for one of the great NHL coaches of the last 25 years. May the HHOF induct him ASAP. He deserved it long ago.

  63. Mick514 says:

    Pat just passed and all you can think about is the Leafs/Habs rivalry and fanning those flames.  Ridiculous. 

    Is your hardcore obession with this goofy sports rivalry really that important at the moment?

  64. CDH says:

    RIP Mr. Burns


     You’ll always be remembered as one of the greatest bench bosses of the game.

  65. MTLForever says:

    Can’t believe he did not get into the hall of fame. I find it ridiculous. An amazing coach and person. RIP Pat 

  66. Timo says:

    Crap, i just learned. My most sincere condolences to the Burns family.

  67. Yeats says:

    Forgive me for posting this elsewhere:

    A great person left us today. I am a not a practicing Catholic, but at times like this I do return to the Faith:


              Eternal rest, grant unto him, O Lord,
              and let perpetual light shine upon him.
              May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
              through the Mercy of God, rest in peace.

  68. habsfansince91 says:

    R.I.P. Burns. My condolences to the Burns family.

  69. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …I remember how angry I was when the Habs fired Burns …and how gradually wimpy We became after He left

    …coaching Toronto never seemed right to me

    …wish You did not have to leave Pat …then …and now

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY

  70. MontrealAtheist says:

    A sad day for the Habs nation !!!

  71. Dintrox says:

    Pat Burns should be in the HHOF and it is a travesty that he won’t be able to see that day. RIP Pat.

  72. JasonM says:

    Just learned of this. My cordolences to the Burns family.

    And for SHAME that he wasn’t at least nominated for the HHOF this year. Heck, it’s not even a decision based on his health at the time, did you see the nominations? Compared to Burns? Give me a break.



  73. chippawarory says:

    Thank you Pat for the childhood memories, God be with you.

  74. A. Berke says:

    Rest in peace Pat and my deepest condolences to Burns family.

    It’s also an utter shame that the morons dragged their feet and failed to induct him to the HHOF.

    Ali B.

  75. habsperspective says:

    You lived a rich life, well done Mr Burns, sorry you couldnt stay longer!



    And Boone, this could read much better.

    Instead of: Pat Burns did not live to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

    How about: Pat Burns did not live to see himself inducted into the Hall.


    Anyways, thoughts and praise to you Mr Burns. 

  76. RH says:

    My condolences to the family.


    Rest in peace Pat Burns.

  77. RH says:

    My condolences to the family.


    Rest in peace Pat Burns.

  78. habsfan_61 says:

    rip pat. shame on the hof for not inducting you this year.

  79. WAR72 says:


    great pic of burns in action…

    corey looking on…

    corson, ludwig, smith, mcphee…

    that old couple who were at every home game next to corey,…

    rare to see an action pic of a coach, but this one really captures the intense, screaming, engaged, pat burns.


  80. Chris F says:

    Interesting to see the toughness present on the bench….Corson, McPhee, Keane, Ludwig, Smith…..and of course Burns. Man, can you imagine having these guys now? Awesome.


  81. CHCanadien says:

    Rest in peace, Pat.

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