"As your life gets closer to the end, you realize that your body gets weaker, you mind works harder but your heart gets softer. You get closer to family, you get closer to God, and there are things that you realize along the way.” - Pat Burns March 26, 2010
As we all know, former Montreal Canadiens coach Pat burns is in his third battle with cancer. He announced in January of 2009 that he had incurable lung cancer. Burns had been treated for colon cancer in 2004 and liver cancer in 2005.
I recently talked to a contact, who had been in touch with the Burns family in recently, and got an update on his health.
Burns continues to battle the incurable disease, but by opting not to seek treatment his health is rapidly declining. “He’s not doing well,” I was told.
It’s also reported that the three-time Adams Trophy winner, and his wife Lynne, have also sold their home in New Hampshire and are spending the summer in Quebec. The Burns family spent the past winter in Tampa.
The fact that he was healthy enough to travel back to Canada could be a positive sign that his fight with cancer is far from over. “With that kind of mobility, it sounds like he's still got some time with us,” my source added.
Then again, is anyone surprised that Pat Burns was going to take this on without a fight?
Burns last public appearance was on March 26, for the arena naming ceremony in his hometown of Stanstead, Quebec. A frail Burns spoke with a weak voice, far from the bellowing one that got players and referees attention on the ice.
There was concern the end was indeed near back in April, when the 58-year-old was rushed to hospital with pneumonia. He was released a few days later.
A grass roots movement, and several of his former NHL colleagues pushed to get Burns into the Hockey Hall of Fame this summer, before he passed away.
“Pat’s been stricken with a terrible disease,” said former coach Mike Keenan, when I spoke to him earlier this month. “It was an honest attempt, and a very nice gesture for other members of the Hall to bring up his name.”
Unfortunately their public calls did not factor in with the selection committee enough, leading to criticism of the Hall of Fame by fans and media alike.
Three days later, the NHL and his former teams (the Canadiens, the Boston Bruins, The Toronto Maple Leafs, and the New Jersey Devils) donated $50K to the construction of the Pat Burns Arena.
photo: Canadian Press