Pat Burns Jokes About Death Rumors at Rare Public Appearance
Burns sat down for a news conference in Quebec at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Pat Burns Arena. When the project was announced in March, Burns thought it would be his last public appearance and noted he probably wouldn't be alive for the groundbreaking.
He quickly made light about the false reports of his death: "I'm still alive," he said in a frail tone.
Burns, 58, was assisted out of his SUV on Wednesday and walked delicately to his seat at the ceremony. The former tough-nosed coach did not conjure up enough energy to speak during the news conference, but the resilient Burns did let the media know one thing, "I'm not dead yet." This was all Burns reportedly said as he walked by a few journalists.
The Pat Burns Arena will be built on the Stanstead College campus, and it will be used by residents of the town and also residents hailing from the Quebec-Vermont border. While the groundbreaking has just started, the arena is scheduled to open next spring.
Burns is the only three-time winner of the Jack Adams trophy in NHL history, an award given out to the league's top coach.
He won the 2003 Stanley Cup coaching the Devils. In 1,019 NHL games from 1988 to 2004, Burns compiled a spectacular 501-350-175 record coaching the Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Bruins and Devils.
Burns decided to forgo any more chemotherapy or treatments once he was informed that his cancer returned in 2009 and it was incurable.