Alex Burrows sorry for taunting Patrick O’Sullivan about abusive father

Alex Burrows sorry for taunting Patrick O’Sullivan about abusive father

Patrick O’Sullivan has opened up about the depths of abuse he suffered from his father as a young player, with harrowing tales of physical and mental anguish in a new book that was excerpted on The Players Tribune.

“From the moment I got my first pair of hockey skates at five years old, I got the living [crap] kicked out of me every single day. Every day after hockey, no matter how many goals I scored, he would hit me. The man was 6-foot-2, 250 lbs. It would start as soon as we got in the car, and sometimes right out in the parking lot,” wrote O’Sullivan.

The abuse led to fear and PTSD as O’Sullivan forged ahead with a pro hockey career, playing with the Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes among others. It was something that other players knew about, and wasn’t something that they made light of.

Well, except for one player.

On Thursday, O’Sullivan revealed that Alex Burrows of the Vancouver Canucks, a notorious pest, was the “only guy who said he wanted to hurt me like me father did [which is] why I can't stand him.” O’Sullivan said Burrows used the taunt once in the minors and once in the NHL.

Burrows was confronted about the comments as the Canucks were in Philadelphia to face the Flyers, and apologized for using child abuse to gain a competitive advantage over an opponent:

Please recall that this is the second time Burrows’ mouth earned him negative headlines this season. Last month, Jordin Tootoo of the New Jersey Devils said Burrows taunted him with something "classless and unacceptable in this day and age.”

Burrows denied the comments had anything to do with Tootoo’s race or substance abuse problems, saying, “What I said I've been told the same in the past and I've heard it plenty of times throughout my career, so I kind of wish it would have stayed on the ice where it belongs.”

The controversy with O’Sullivan earned Burrows a strong rebuke from Vancouver Province columnist Ed Willes:

Against this backdrop. Burrows’ actions are indefensible. Yes, there’s a timeline there, and, yes, the full picture of O’Sullivan’s ordeal has only emerged after his retirement. But this is child abuse. This is on a whole different level.

Burrows has to own this one, and if he’s the person we think he is, he’ll make amends. But there’s another issue here and it concerns the credo outlined above; the belief that anything is acceptable in the name of winning and gaining an edge.

Other Vancouver writers felt the child abuse O’Sullivan endured was fair game:

Listen to our interview with Patrick O’Sullivan on Marek Vs. Wyshynski here:

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.