Eric Ritter, Deltona, Fla.
The passing of Pat Burns was a sad moment for the NHL and its fans. Sad not only because a great coach and hockey personality had been taken from us, but sad because no one with authority saw it fit to take any initiative to get him into the Hockey Hall of Fame before his passing.
Due to his recurring cancer bouts, Burns himself had come out and said he was no longer going to fight the cancer and that he knew his time would be coming soon enough. Because of this, people who admired Burns wanted to see him get inducted into the Hall of Fame while he was still alive so he could live to see this prestigious achievement.
And this wasn't just a sentimental story, not a “he has cancer so let's do something nice for him before he dies” type of deal. He had a career record of 501-350-161-14, went to two Stanley Cup finals and won the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 2003.
The man had Hall of Fame credentials. A Facebook group page named “Let's Get Pat Burns into the Hockey Hall of Fame - NOW!” surfaced in late March and has since garnered more than 70,000 members. But the numbers weren't enough to convince those who vote at the Hall of Fame to elect him, nor were they enough for him to be given an honorary induction, regardless of the votes.
Now that he's passed away, I wouldn't be surprised to start seeing Hall of Fame officials tripping over themselves to get him in there, And if not now, then to get him in during next year's induction.
It's a shame no one exercised enough initiative, authority and/or interest to get this deserving man into the Hall before he passed on. Hopefully, though, sometime in the near future, the right thing will be done and he will make his way into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
With utmost respect, rest in peace Mr. Pat Burns and thank you for what you brought to hockey.