Three years after his death, Pat Burns is still not a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, but why not? The Hall of Fame had the opportunity to do something special, the right thing, back in 2010 when the unfortunate news was revealed that Burns’ health was declining. People knew that his time was running out, so the entire community of hockey called for the Hall of Fame Voting Committee to do the right thing, which was to move his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame up so that he would have the satisfaction of seeing his day in the sun come before his passing.
There was no doubt in anybody’s mind that Pat Burns would one day be made a member of the Hall of Fame. Throughout his coaching career Burns had coached his way to 500 wins, 3 Jack Adams Trophies, and 1 Stanley Cup. In a harmonious show of appreciation for Burns’ contributions to the game, and support for his tragic situation, there was a movement on Facebook from fans from the four NHL teams that he coached (the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and the New Jersey Devils, with whom he won the Stanley Cup with in 2003) to implore that day to come just a little bit earlier.
But, unfortunately, the Voting Committee did not see fit to oblige and vote him in in 2010. Burns passed away a few months later.
You’d think that the Voting Committee would’ve realized their mistake and corrected it the next year, but they didn’t. Nor the next year, or even the year after. Three years have now passed and Pat Burns is still not in the Hockey Hall of Fame, which is a travesty. Pat Burns embodies all that Halls of Fame are supposed to represent. Halls of Fame are supposed to be a gathering of the greatest that your sport has ever seen and Pat Burns, in his heartbreakingly short career, was one of the best coaches of the modern era.
These types of debates aren’t unusual when it comes to who should or shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame, whether we’re talking about hockey or any other Hall of Fame. It’s ridiculous that Roger Maris will never be in Cooperstown, Cris Carter should certainly have a plaque in Canton, and even the great “Macho Man” Randy Savage not being in the WWE Hall of Fame just doesn’t feel right. Those are my feelings, but there are those who differ, and I can respect that. What puzzles me is that everyone seems to agree that Coach Pat Burns should already be in the Hockey Hall of Fame. So what’s the hold up? I don’t understand it.
The Voting Committee should have fixed this sooner, but it looks like we’re going to have to wait longer. It’ll be at least one more year before we find out if they’ve decided to finally do something that should have been done years ago.