MONTREAL – Fans of the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple leafs joined together on Saturday night to applaud a man who coached both teams—Pat Burns.
A scoreboard tribute was paid to Burns, who died Friday after a long battle with cancer, before the Canadiens game against the Leafs.
Fans among the crowd of 21,273 who had been jeering at each other moments earlier both went quiet as a video montage of Burns’ career was shown on the scoreboard and all joined in a moment of silence. When it was over, they stood for a long ovation as Burns’ picture was flashed onto the ice surface.
Burns began his NHL career as coach of the Canadiens in 1988 and then moved to Toronto, Boston and New Jersey, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2003.
Hockey personality Don Cherry also paid tribute to Burns on CBC’s “Coach’s Corner” segment with a montage that showed some of his more colourful moments behind the bench.
“Pat, you’re a Hall of Famer with the players, and that’s the main thing,” Cherry said.
Despite an online petition, Burns was not included on the list of 2010 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees.