November 30, 2010
The hockey world bid farewell to coaching legend Pat Burns yesterday at a funeral in Montreal. There were famous faces, famous names, and mourners from around North America, signifying the impact the former Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils coach had on the game.
But perhaps nothing symbolized Pat Burns' impact on hockey greater than the urn that contained his ashes on the alter: the Stanley Cup.
Burns' ashes were carried into the church for the funeral and, afterward, back out in an urn that is actually a miniature replica of hockey's Holy Grail.
After the mass, his loved ones paused by the hearse to kiss the small Cup, which had sat near the altar with a flame flickering over it during the ceremony.
Wow. This is 100 times cooler than the KISS Kasket.
Pat's cousin Robin Burns joked about the urn during his eulogy: "Look at you, all cropped up in Lord Stanley. ... Not bad for a tete-carree (square head) from St-Henri."
Via the Toronto Star, a classic Burns moment at the funeral via Lou Lamoriello:
Lou Lamoriello, the president and GM of the New Jersey Devils, gave a eulogy on Monday wherein he told of placing a call, just weeks before Burns' death, to ask how his old friend was doing.
"The hell with how I'm doing - I just watched you play!" came the voice on the other end of the line, Burns lambasting the struggling Devils.
Lamoriello, who brought the entire Devils roster to pay their respects, said he'd spent part of Monday in the coaches' room, seeking input for his speech from hockey men who knew Burns. As the stories flew, Lamoriello found himself striking them all from the list of cathedral-appropriate anecdotes. As much as Burns loved singing country music and playing rock guitar, he also enjoyed pumping up the volume on his locker-room-only humour.
"Can't tell that one. . . . Can't say that . . . " Lamoriello recounted.
R.I.P. Pat Burns. One of a kind, that one.