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.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.