July 29, 2014

Around the Region: Ex-Bruins coach Burns finally earns Hall call

By NEHJ Staff

Pat Burns, who coached the Boston Bruins for three-plus seasons, led the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup in 2003 and died of cancer in 2010 at the age of 58, was posthumously elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame last month.

Burns was part of a six-member class that includes former standout players Dominik Hasek, Mike Modano, Peter Forsberg and Rob Blake, and former referee Bill McCreary.

The men will be inducted Nov. 17 in Toronto.

Many feel that Burns’ honor was overdue. He has been eligible since 2007 and will be inducted as a builder.

He won three Jack Adams Awards and 501 regular-season games (16th all-time). Twice he guided teams to the Stanley Cup Final, losing in 1989 with the Canadiens and winning in 2003 with the Devils. Burns also turned around the Toronto Maple Leafs in the early 1990s and led them to back-to-back conference finals appearances in 1993 and ’94. In Boston, where he coached from 1997-2000, he compiled a record of 105-97-46.

“On behalf of the Boston Bruins I would like to congratulate the family of Pat Burns on his election into the Hockey Hall of Fame,” said Bruins president Cam Neely in a statement. “Pat had an outstanding career in hockey, and we are very happy to see him rewarded with this great honor.”

N.H. hall to add seven

New Hampshire Legends of Hockey announced its 2014 Hall of Fame class last month, one that includes a pair of former Boston Bruins who went on to coaching success.

Former UNH and Bruins forward Bruce Crowder of Nashua, and former Bruins great Rick Middleton of Hampton, who coached the U.S. Sled Hockey Team to an improbable gold medal at the Salt Lake City Paralympic Games in 2002, are among the seven inductees.

Also being inducted as coaches are longtime Phillips Exeter Academy coach Bill Dennehy and Bruce Parker (Berlin). Players being inducted are Mark Evans of Brentwood, Steve Murphy of Penacook and former Hanover High School star Steve Shirreffs.

The Hall of Fame Induction is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 26, at the Grappone Convention Center in Concord.

Bednar to coach Falcons

The Columbus Blue Jackets signed former Springfield Falcons head coach Brad Larsen to a multiyear contract to serve as an assistant coach on Todd Richards’ staff and named Jared Bednar head coach of the Falcons.

Larsen guided the Falcons to a 92-45-15 record and a pair of Northeast Division titles in two seasons behind the bench. The Falcons posted the first 100-point campaign in franchise history in 2013-14, finishing with the AHL’s third-best record at 47-23-1-5.

Bednar, 42, has served as an assistant coach with the Falcons under Larsen the last two seasons. Prior to joining the Blue Jackets organization, he was head coach of the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen from 2010-12.

Roos, Chu to be honored

The Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame’s incoming class, announced last month, is highlighted by four-time Olympian Julie Chu (Fairfield, Conn.) and Marty Roos, the all-time leader in coaching wins in Connecticut.

Roos retired in 2012 after 40 years of coaching with 536 career victories at two of the state’s elite high school programs in Fairfield Prep and Notre Dame of Fairfield. He won four state titles at Prep and two more at Notre Dame.

Chu has been one of the leaders of women’s hockey in the U.S. and has won three silver medals and a bronze in the Olympics.

Ice chips

The Manchester Monarchs, primary affiliate of the Stanley Cup champion Kings, named Mike Stothers as head coach. Stothers replaces Mark Morris, whose contract was not renewed.

Stothers has 30-plus years of pro  experience as a player and coach. He most recently served as coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League for three seasons (2011-14). ...

The AHL’s Portland Pirates announced the hiring of Trent Whitfield and Alfie Michaud as assistant coaches for the 2014-15 season last month. Whitfield spent parts of seven of his 16 professional seasons as a player in Portland between 1998 and 2005. Michaud, who will serve as goalie coach, was a standout goaltender up the road at the University of Maine.

This article originally appeared in the July edition of the New England Hockey Journal. Click here to read the digital edition for free.

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