|Burns hoists the Cup in 2003. |
Pat Burns is finally headed into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The late head coach was one of six named Monday to the Class of 2014 that will be officially inducted on Nov. 17 in Toronto.
Burns, who won the Jack Adams Award with three teams (Montreal, Toronto, Boston) and led the Devils to the 2003 Stanley Cup, was the lone addition to the Builder Category. He will be enshrined along with Rob Blake, Peter Forsberg, Dominik Hasek and Mike Modano in the Players Category, and Bill McCreary in the Referee and Linesman Category.
Burns spent parts of 14 seasons as a coach in the NHL, recording 501 regular-season victories and a .573 winning percentage. His 78 wins in the postseason rank 11th all-time.
"It's a great day for me and my family,” Burns’ widow, Line, told the Hockey Hall of Fame website. "I'm speechless and tremendously happy. Pat would be proud and this is well-deserved."
Burns posted a .610 winning percentage in two seasons with the Devils, going 89-53-22 from 2002-03 to 2003-04. New Jersey went 16-8 during the 2003 postseason, securing the franchise’s third title with a seven-game Final victory over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
Illness forced Burns from his coaching post following the 2003-04 season. He passed away on Nov. 19, 2010.
“If you look at his work over the years when he was coaching, he was a very successful coach,” Patrik Elias said of his former bench boss. “It’s well-deserved for him and his wife."
That 2003 season was unique for Elias.
“Every run we made to the playoffs or the Final was a different situation, a different feeling,” he said. “This one, we didn’t have as much talent as a team as we did in those years prior to that. It was all about work ethic and that’s what Pat demanded. It paid off, obviously, during that year.”
The Devils’ all-time leading scorer admits that while he didn’t always see eye-to-eye with Burns, he can't argue with the results.
"He gave me a different perspective of coaching, on a relationship with the coach,” said Elias. "At the same time, he made me go through some things that I didn’t like in my life as a hockey player, but that made me stronger going forward.”
After a 17-year career as a police officer, Burns coached Hull (QMJHL) for four seasons, then progressed to Sherbrooke (AHL) in 1987. In 1988, he began his NHL coaching career with Montreal, leading the Canadiens to the 1989 Cup Final and claiming the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's Coach of the Year in his first season.
Burns also led Toronto to back-to-back conference finals in 1993 and 1994.