Over the last four days there has been an outpouring of respect and affection for Pat Burns who passed away after his long bout with cancer.

Once the mourning process is over, someone in NHL authority has to examine the process that prevented Burns from entering the Hockey Hall of Fame while he was still alive. In June, he was nominated and then rejected by at least five members of the eighteen member Hall of Fame selection committee.

His exclusion has been called “cold-hearted”, “mean spirited”,“pathetic”, “heartless”, “abominable”, “despicable” and “outrageous”. All terms fit the group’s failure accurately.

And they don’t even have to take responsibility. The vote is by secret ballot. Each member of the committee is forced to sign a confidentiality agreement preventing them from discussing the matter.. That means even voting members from the media such as Eric Duhatschek, Mike Emrick, Michael Farber, Yvon Pednault and Dick Irvin can’t comment on the process.  Scotty Bowman is part of the group.  I can’t imagine a no vote from him.  For that matter, Pat Quinn, John Davidson, Serge Savard, Peter Stastny or Lanny McDonald.  But there were five or six who had something against Pat, and they allowed personal feelings to get in the way. 

There can be no excuses. Even the cloak of precedent fails.

Roger Neilson, who coached ten different NHL teams, with fewer career wins, was inducted in 2002 while battling the bone and skin cancer that took him three years later.

Pat Burns will eventually enter the Hall. His credentials have been often repeated over the last few days; three times NHL Coach of the Year with three different teams and a Stanley Cup winner with the fourth team. 501 wins – 350 losses – 175 ties. He took the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup final. Two times under his direction, the normally inept Maple Leafs reached the conference finals. He got Boston back on a winning track and then won the Stanley Cup in New Jersey in 2003    (The list of voting members of the Hall of Fame selection committee below.)  

Here is the Bell Centre Tribute to Pat Burns on November 20 prior to the Toronto game.

.

Here is the list of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee.   Try to figure out who belongs to the anti-Pat Burns faction.

Selection Committee

James M. Gregory, Co-Chair
Honoured Member Jim Gregory served as the General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1969 to 1979. He later ran the NHL’s Central Scouting department, and presently serves as the Senior Vice-President of Hockey Operations for the National Hockey League’s Toronto office.

Pat Quinn, Co-Chair
Pat Quinn spent nine years in the NHL playing defense for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and Atlanta Flames. After retiring as a player, he served as a coach and General Manager with the Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles, Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs. His international coaching accomplishments include victories at the 2002 Olympics, 2004 World Cup, 2008 U18 World Junior Championship and 2009 U20 World Junior Championship.

Scotty Bowman
Elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991 in the Builder Category, Scotty Bowman’s success over his 30-year NHL coaching career includes nine Stanley Cup victories, one more than the legendary Toe Blake. Bowman retired from coaching after leading the Detroit Red Wings to the Stanley Cup in 2002 and currently serves as a consultant to the team.

David Branch
Born and raised in Bathurst, New Brunswick, David Branch has served as the Commissioner of the Ontario Hockey League since August 11, 1979, and as the President of the Canadian Hockey League since 1996. Under his command, the OHL has grown from 12 teams to 20 and is now a high profile marketable product, with multiple games broadcast on television and radio.

Colin Campbell
After turning pro with Vancouver of the WHA in 1973-74, Colin Campbell went on to play eleven seasons of defense in the National Hockey League. Following his retirement as a player in 1985, Colin pursued a coaching career that led him back to the NHL behind the bench as head coach of the New York Rangers for four seasons. Today, Colin Campbell is the NHL’s Senior Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations.

John Davidson
A native of Ottawa, Ontario, John Davidson played in over 300 regular season games from 1973 to 1983 in the National Hockey League with St Louis and the New York Rangers. He became a veteran in the media circuit as a hockey analyst including work with Hockey Night in Canada and the Hot Stove Lounge, ESPN, ABC and the MSG Network. Davidson is currently the President of Hockey Operations for the St. Louis Blues.

Eric Duhatschek
Duhatschek began covering the Calgary Flames in the late 1970s and currently serves as the Globe and Mail’s primary western hockey correspondent. He was presented the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for distinguished hockey journalism in 2001.

Jan-Ake Edvinsson
The General Secretary of the International Ice Hockey Federation for 21 years, Jan-Ake Edvinsson oversaw much of the international game’s evolution, including the allowance for professional players to compete in the Olympics. Originally from Sweden, Jan-Ake Edvinsson now makes his home in Switzerland.

Mike Emrick
In 2001 Mike Emrick worked his 21st consecutive year as a play-by-play announcer in the NHL. In all he has 30-plus years experience behind the mike and is the long time voice of the New Jersey Devils. Emrick has received the national cable TV Ace Award for the best play-by-play, an Emmy in 1997 in the New York region for Devils telecasts, and in 2008, the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award.

Michael Farber
Following 15 years as an accomplished sports columnist for the Montreal Gazette, Micheal Farber became senior writer with Sports Illustrated in 1994 and now stands as one of the magazine’s top journalists. Farber, a New Jersey native, received the Elmer Ferguson Award for distinguished hockey writing in 2003.

Mike Gartner
After an illustrious hockey career that combined unrivalled skating speed with a scoring prowess that netted 708 goals, Mike Gartner was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001. He represented Canada at numerous international tournaments including multiple World Championships and Canada Cups and later served as President of the NHLPA for the latter part of the 1990s.

Dick Irvin
A well-known broadcaster throughout Canada, Dick Irvin started covering hockey for the Montreal station CFCF in 1962. Four years later he joined Hockey Night in Canada, and upon his retirement in 1999, was the show’s longest serving member in its history. Irvin received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award in 1988 for his outstanding work in broadcasting.

Lanny McDonald
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992, Alberta native Lanny McDonald scored 500 goals over a splendid 16-year NHL career. As captain of the Calgary Flames, McDonald led the franchise to its first Stanley Cup in 1989. Following his retirement, he served as Vice-President with the Calgary organization for many years and is today an active general manager and director of player personnel for the Canadian national men’s hockey team.

Yvon Pedneault
For 40 years, Yvon Pedneault has been reporting on hockey in the province of Quebec. He has covered the Montreal Canadiens for La Presse and Le Journal de Montreal. In addition to print journalism, Pedneault is also a respected broadcaster with a resume that includes extensive work in both radio and TV. In 1998, he was the recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for broadcasting excellence.

Serge Savard
A standout defenseman on the Montreal Canadiens (1966-81) and Winnipeg Jets (1981-83), Savard won seven Stanley Cups with the Habs. He later served as General Manager of the Canadiens from 1983 to 1995 and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Player Category in 1986.

Harry Sinden
Harry Sinden was a fine amateur player who led the Whitby Dunlops to the World Hockey Championship in 1958. He also coached the Boston Bruins to the Stanley Cup in 1970 and Team Canada to victory in the 1972 Summit Series. Sinden served as Boston’s General Manager from 1972 to 2000 and remains today with the organization as an Alternate Governor.

Peter Stastny
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998, Bratislava, Slovakia native Peter Stastny was one of the NHL’s most prolific scorers in the 1980s. A six-time NHL All-Star, Stastny tallied 450 goals, 789 assists for a total of 1239 throughout his stellar career. Upon his retirement from the game, he captained the Slovak national team in various international tournaments. Most recently Stastny was elected as one of Slovakia’s 14 Members of the European Parliament.

Bill Torrey
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Builder Category in 1995, Montreal, Quebec native Bill Torrey was General Manger of the New York Islanders dynasty during the 1970s and 1980s. Known for building teams through the draft and developing young players, Torrey’s successes include Mike Bossy Clark Gillies, Pat LaFontaine, Denis Potvin and Bryan Trottier.

 

 Over the last four days there has been an outpouring of respect and affection for Pat Burns who passed away after his long bout with cancer.

Once the mourning is over, someone in NHL authority has to examine the process that prevented Burns from entering the Hockey Hall of Fame while he was still alive. He was nominated and then rejected by at least five members of the eighteen member selection committee.

His exclusion has been called “cold-hearted”, “mean spirited”,“pathetic”, “heartless”, “abominable”, “despicable” and “outrageous”. All terms fit the group’s failure accurately.

And they don’t even have to take responsibility. The vote is by secret ballot. Each member of the committee is forced to sign a confidentiality agreement preventing them from discussing the matter.. That means even voting members from the media such as Eric Duhatschek, Mike Emrick, Michael Farber, Yvon Pednault and Dick Irvin can’t comment on the process.

There can be no excuses. Even the cloak of precedent fails.

Roger Neilson, who coached ten different NHL teams, was inducted in 2002 while battling the bone and skin cancer that took him three years later.

Pat Burns will eventually enter the Hall. His credentials have been often repeated over the last few days; three times NHL Coach of the Year with three different teams and a Stanley Cup winner with the fourth team. 501 wins – 350 losses – 175 ties. He took the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup final. Two times under his direction, the normally inept Maple Leafs reached the conference finals. He got Boston back on a winning track and then won the Stanley Cup in New Jersey in 2003.

Here is the list of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee. I can’t image who the five or six who voted against Burns could be.

Selection Committee

James M. Gregory, Co-Chair
Honoured Member Jim Gregory served as the General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1969 to 1979. He later ran the NHL’s Central Scouting department, and presently serves as the Senior Vice-President of Hockey Operations for the National Hockey League’s Toronto office.

Pat Quinn, Co-Chair
Pat Quinn spent nine years in the NHL playing defense for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and Atlanta Flames. After retiring as a player, he served as a coach and General Manager with the Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles, Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs. His international coaching accomplishments include victories at the 2002 Olympics, 2004 World Cup, 2008 U18 World Junior Championship and 2009 U20 World Junior Championship.

Scotty Bowman
Elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991 in the Builder Category, Scotty Bowman’s success over his 30-year NHL coaching career includes nine Stanley Cup victories, one more than the legendary Toe Blake. Bowman retired from coaching after leading the Detroit Red Wings to the Stanley Cup in 2002 and currently serves as a consultant to the team.

David Branch
Born and raised in Bathurst, New Brunswick, David Branch has served as the Commissioner of the Ontario Hockey League since August 11, 1979, and as the President of the Canadian Hockey League since 1996. Under his command, the OHL has grown from 12 teams to 20 and is now a high profile marketable product, with multiple games broadcast on television and radio.

Colin Campbell
After turning pro with Vancouver of the WHA in 1973-74, Colin Campbell went on to play eleven seasons of defense in the National Hockey League. Following his retirement as a player in 1985, Colin pursued a coaching career that led him back to the NHL behind the bench as head coach of the New York Rangers for four seasons. Today, Colin Campbell is the NHL’s Senior Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations.

John Davidson
A native of Ottawa, Ontario, John Davidson played in over 300 regular season games from 1973 to 1983 in the National Hockey League with St Louis and the New York Rangers. He became a veteran in the media circuit as a hockey analyst including work with Hockey Night in Canada and the Hot Stove Lounge, ESPN, ABC and the MSG Network. Davidson is currently the President of Hockey Operations for the St. Louis Blues.

Eric Duhatschek
Duhatschek began covering the Calgary Flames in the late 1970s and currently serves as the Globe and Mail’s primary western hockey correspondent. He was presented the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for distinguished hockey journalism in 2001.

Jan-Ake Edvinsson
The General Secretary of the International Ice Hockey Federation for 21 years, Jan-Ake Edvinsson oversaw much of the international game’s evolution, including the allowance for professional players to compete in the Olympics. Originally from Sweden, Jan-Ake Edvinsson now makes his home in Switzerland.

Mike Emrick
In 2001 Mike Emrick worked his 21st consecutive year as a play-by-play announcer in the NHL. In all he has 30-plus years experience behind the mike and is the long time voice of the New Jersey Devils. Emrick has received the national cable TV Ace Award for the best play-by-play, an Emmy in 1997 in the New York region for Devils telecasts, and in 2008, the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award.

Michael Farber
Following 15 years as an accomplished sports columnist for the Montreal Gazette, Micheal Farber became senior writer with Sports Illustrated in 1994 and now stands as one of the magazine’s top journalists. Farber, a New Jersey native, received the Elmer Ferguson Award for distinguished hockey writing in 2003.

Mike Gartner
After an illustrious hockey career that combined unrivalled skating speed with a scoring prowess that netted 708 goals, Mike Gartner was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001. He represented Canada at numerous international tournaments including multiple World Championships and Canada Cups and later served as President of the NHLPA for the latter part of the 1990s.

Dick Irvin
A well-known broadcaster throughout Canada, Dick Irvin started covering hockey for the Montreal station CFCF in 1962. Four years later he joined Hockey Night in Canada, and upon his retirement in 1999, was the show’s longest serving member in its history. Irvin received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award in 1988 for his outstanding work in broadcasting.

Lanny McDonald
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992, Alberta native Lanny McDonald scored 500 goals over a splendid 16-year NHL career. As captain of the Calgary Flames, McDonald led the franchise to its first Stanley Cup in 1989. Following his retirement, he served as Vice-President with the Calgary organization for many years and is today an active general manager and director of player personnel for the Canadian national men’s hockey team.

Yvon Pedneault
For 40 years, Yvon Pedneault has been reporting on hockey in the province of Quebec. He has covered the Montreal Canadiens for La Presse and Le Journal de Montreal. In addition to print journalism, Pedneault is also a respected broadcaster with a resume that includes extensive work in both radio and TV. In 1998, he was the recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for broadcasting excellence.

Serge Savard
A standout defenseman on the Montreal Canadiens (1966-81) and Winnipeg Jets (1981-83), Savard won seven Stanley Cups with the Habs. He later served as General Manager of the Canadiens from 1983 to 1995 and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Player Category in 1986.

Harry Sinden
Harry Sinden was a fine amateur player who led the Whitby Dunlops to the World Hockey Championship in 1958. He also coached the Boston Bruins to the Stanley Cup in 1970 and Team Canada to victory in the 1972 Summit Series. Sinden served as Boston’s General Manager from 1972 to 2000 and remains today with the organization as an Alternate Governor.

Peter Stastny
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998, Bratislava, Slovakia native Peter Stastny was one of the NHL’s most prolific scorers in the 1980s. A six-time NHL All-Star, Stastny tallied 450 goals, 789 assists for a total of 1239 throughout his stellar career. Upon his retirement from the game, he captained the Slovak national team in various international tournaments. Most recently Stastny was elected as one of Slovakia’s 14 Members of the European Parliament.

Bill Torrey
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Builder Category in 1995, Montreal, Quebec native Bill Torrey was General Manger of the New York Islanders dynasty during the 1970s and 1980s. Known for building teams through the draft and developing young players, Torrey’s successes include Mike Bossy Clark Gillies, Pat LaFontaine, Denis Potvin and Bryan Trottier.