Former National Hockey League enforcer Garrett Burnett passed away this week at the age of 46.
Burnett, nicknamed “Rocky” for his enforcer role played the 2003-2004 NHL season with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim collecting a goal and two assists in 39 games along with 184 penalty minutes. The following season he played 7 games during the NHL lockout with the now infamous Danbury Trashers. In 2005 he was signed by the Dallas Stars, but did not play another NHL game. He suited up in the preseason with Dallas but suffered a hand injury.
More importantly, off the ice, Burnett was remembered by family and friends as a gentle giant. On the ice, however, his enforcer persona was well known.
In nine professional hockey seasons, Burnett, the Coquitlam, B.C. product collected close to 3,000 penalty minutes including twice leading the American Hockey League in penalty minutes. This included the 1999-2000 season where Burnett was assessed 506 penalty minutes in 58 regular-season games with the Kentucky Thoroughblades.
Following the 2005-2006 season, Burnett attempted a season of professional lacrosse by signing with the NLL’s Arizona Sting. He finished his playing career in 2006 with the LNAH’s Saint-Jean Chiefs where he received a ban from the league after throwing a net at the opposing team’s netminder.
In 2006, Burnett was also a victim of assault, suffering brain trauma when he was hit by a stool outside a nightclub in British Columbia. He remained in a coma and on life support for three weeks, and eventually lost a court case in 2011 tied to the incident. He did not return to hockey following the incident.