Must Reading On Brian Burke

Ok Sports fans, here is your homework. It’s not very often that I insist you read something, but Michael Farber’s article in Sports Ilustrated is must reading. The story on Brian Burke is fantastic. Talk about a story that “captures the spirit of thing”:

“A few days after Brendan came out to his father, in late December 2007, Brian told him, “You know the best part? I don’t have to take anything back.” Burke says he never told his children there was anything wrong with homosexuality. But when he really rummages through his memory, he concedes there are smudges on his otherwise clean conscience. When he played in the American Hockey League in the late 1970s—he was a stay-at-home defenseman whose skills fast-tracked him to Harvard Law School—he spoke in the lingua franca of the locker room. “Yeah, I used those slurs,” he says. “I’m embarrassed by it. It was an accepted part of the [hockey] culture, and it still is. But not on my teams. It’s a big part of trash talking, and that’s got to change.”

That’s just one piece of Farber’s story that caputures much of the Brian Burke that we don’t get to see or hear about..

“”Last summer I said something [nasty] about Kevin Lowe, and Brendan asked, ‘How can you stay mad at someone?'” Burke says. “I said, ‘It’s easy.’ He said, ‘No, it’s not. He used to be your friend. It doesn’t make sense. I don’t approve.'”
When Lowe, now the Oilers’ president, learned of Brendan’s passing, he e-mailed Brian, referring to their shattered relationship while offering his sympathies. Burke immediately called Edmonton G.M. Steve Tambellini, with whom he had worked in Vancouver, and asked him to tell Lowe that this is one broken fence he wants to mend.
And so Burke and Lowe began the healing process last week at Canada Hockey Place. In their best moments, the Olympics can be as much about peace and friendship as about rivalries. Five nights before the U.S. beat Canada 5–3, the grieving father walked over to Lowe, a Team Canada executive, and offered his hand. Burke says an awkward sort of half man-hug accompanied the handshake. ”

Fantastic stuff Michael, a great story on a Burke. It becomes easier to become a fan of Burke with each passing day. While he portrays himself as the big truculent type, you can tell there is a softer side that is probably driving the bus more often than not. That’s good to see.

Sports Illustrated’s Michael Farber’s excellent article on Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke can be read here.

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