Sean Burke acquired a wealth of knowledge while playing 820 games during 18 NHL seasons. Now, in his role as Director of Prospect Development, Burke will share that knowledge with players coming up through the Coyotes organization.
“I will spend the season watching them play and helping them develop off the ice,” said Burke, who will oversee all prospects. “I want to help them develop into players so that they are playing with the Coyotes at some point.”
While he will not be on the ice with the players, Burke will continue to teach players based on his experience, just like he did when he was on the ice.
“It’s really a one-day-at-a-time attitude,” said Burke, who played five seasons for the Coyotes from 1999-2004. “I want to give the kind of experience I had, by playing with a lot of great players in the NHL, to other players.”
Burke will try to help Coyotes prospects excel in the mental areas of the game.
“I was always pretty dedicated and disciplined off the ice and was able to play a long time because I was very serious about conditioning and the mental approach of the game,” Burke said. “In order to be a successful player for a number of years, you have to form good habits and have a good understanding of what it is to be a professional.”
Burke has joined the Coyotes in a role that is becoming popular throughout the league. Several ex-NHL players, including Adam Graves with the New York Rangers, Scott Mellanby with the Vancouver Canucks, and Al MacInnis with the St. Louis Blues, are in roles similar to Burke’s.
“Each team now is taking a position that if you can get some ex-players in the organization that played a long time and can help with the kids, in some of the areas that a scout can’t contribute, then it’s valuable,” Burke said.
General Manager Don Maloney agrees.
“We didn’t have anybody overseeing our prospects,” Maloney said. “We asked, ‘Who has enough of a reputation and credibility to go out and see these players and talk to these coaches?’ and Sean fit the profile.”
A year removed from playing, Burke misses some aspects of the game.
“I don’t miss playing from the standpoint that I miss the crowd and adulation and the stuff that goes along with the actual game,” Burke said. “I miss the day-to-day routine that you have been in for so many years.”