December 08 , 2008


The Pat Burns Story


Pat Burns was one of the great NHL coaches. He worked with the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils, and seemed always to enjoy instant success. He capped his extraordinary career by coaching the New Jersey Devils to a Stanley Cup victory in 2003. Cancer – his third bout – finally claimed him in 2010, aged 58. 

Rosie DiManno, who knew Burns well, has written a revealing, exhilarating and heartfelt account of his life: his childhood as a fatherless, solitary male surrounded by many women, his years as a police officer, his glorious coaching career and his long and characteristically valiant ending.

is both the first major biography of Burns and one that, with its revelations, personal insights and riveting prose, is – like the man himself – sure to be both controversial and hard to beat. Rosie DiManno knew, liked and admired Burns, and in the writing of this book has interviewed many, many people from every stage of his life. She is not blind to his less endearing qualities, but seeks to explain them.

DiManno reveals a man of contradictions – gruff and crude, bullying and sentimental, and easily wounded. She shows, moreover, a man of hockey. The Burns who rode motorcycles, dressed like a cowboy, and sweet-talked the ladies was, says DiManno, a self-creation. His one indisputable, true talent was for coaching hockey. He was a pure coach. 

DiManno tells a compelling story and helps us to understand a complex man, one who gave little of himself to the public and yet whose funeral was a spectacle. How did that happen? Who was Pat Burns? Rosie DiManno, who witnessed much of the story, has the answers.

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