Tribute Mask To New Hall Of Famer Pat Burns
Four years ago, many thought Pat Burns would be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, and every year since, more and more people have supported the notion. Well, that perceived injustice has been rectified. The late Pat Burns was inducted into the HHOF this Monday, with his son and wife accepting the honour on his behalf. It was an emotional ceremony, but it’s fair to say the memory of one of the great coaches in NHL history is alive and well. This new mask, painted by David Leroux of Diel Airbrush, was done for a member of Burns’ family and it’s a wonderful tribute to the man, coach, father, husband, and friend.
The mask features portraits and action shots commemorating each of the four teams Burns coached for. On the left side, a young Burns stands in a retro Montreal Canadiens jacket, whistle in mouth, no doubt putting the Habs through their paces. The Canadiens logo is beautifully illustrated as well. Above that, a passionate Pat Burns is yelling with a raised fists, demonstrating the emotion and vigor so many saw when he was behind the bench. The New Jersey Devils logo sits just to the right of the uncharacteristically un-mustachioed Burns.
Along the chin of the mask in chrome lettering “Burns” is written with a faint set of years just below, 1952-2010. Above the cage of the mask, there is a message to all and one instilled in many of Burns’ teams over the years: Never Give Up.
On the right side of the mask, embittered rivals Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins. Once again with a whistle in his mouth, a side profile of Burns wearing blue and white is coaching for the Leafs. Above the profile and a Maple Leafs logo, a portrait of Pat Burns when he was coaching for the Bruins is masterfully painted by David Leroux. All of the portraits and profiles achieve incredible detail and almost perfect likeness. It’s uncanny what Leroux can do with an airbrush!
In 1988, Burns began his NHL coaching career in Montreal, where he became one of ten rookie head coaches to win the Jack Adams Award for the league’s top head coach. Burns would go on to win the award twice more, becoming the only head three time winner in the award’s 40 year history. After losing in the Stanley Cup Final in 1989, Burns’ Habs would make it to the Conference Semifinals of the playoffs for the next three years. In 1992, Burns moved on to the rival Maple Leafs where, in his first year, he won his second Jack Adams Trophy. The Leafs would make the playoffs for three straight years, succumbing in the Conference Finals twice and the Conference Quarterfinals once. After a rough stretch in January and February where the Leafs went 3-16-3, Burns was fired, though it should be noted that Toronto still made the playoffs that year. Two seasons later, Burns was hired by the Boston Bruins. Burns won his third and final Jack Adams in his first year with Boston, making the playoffs in two of the next three years, after being fired in 2000, Burns was hired by the New Jersey Devils in 2002, and finally won his first Stanley Cup. After one more season with the Devils, Burns stepped down as head coach.
Burns survived colon cancer (2004) and liver cancer (2005), but in 2009 announced that his colon cancer had returned and metastasized in his lungs. On this day, November 19th, in 2010, Burns passed away. In 2011, an arena bearing Burns’ name was constructed in Stanstead College. Burns’ legacy lives on, and while many thought this induction into the Hall of Fame well overdue, Burns said to his son, before he passed away, “Cheer Up Jason, I’ll get in there someday probably. You better have a good speech ready because you’re the one going up there for me.”
The mask David Leroux painted was for a member of the family and we think it’s a fantastic tribute to one hockey’s greats. For more artwork, please visit the Diel Airbrush website, as well as follow David on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. You can view the rest of the Pat Burns Tribute mask below.