Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hall of Shame

So, the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee has decided to pass Pat Burns over for admission this year for some incomprehensible reason, or maybe, for no reason at all. Perhaps the selection committee thinks he's enough of a fighter to stay alive until next year, despite the cancer eating away at him.

The man is going to be in the Hall some day. It should have been yesterday. He's got all the qualifications, and, if not for the devastating cancer he's battling, he'd still be coaching in the NHL. He's the only coach in league history to have won the Jack Adams with three different teams, he's got a winning record and a Stanley Cup. There's no doubt he'll be inducted eventually. Why the committee chose to let him and his family wait, when there's little chance he'll live to receive the honour in person, just defies logic and compassion.

I find it hard to believe that either none of the selection committee chose to use his "builder" nomination privilege to put Burns' name forward, or, if he was actually nominated by the committee, that fifty percent of the guys who vote didn't think he was worthy to be picked this year. These are not random yahoos. They're respected hockey men, and, you'd think, capable of understanding that time is of the essence in Burns' induction.

Overlooking Burns does two things. First, it cheapens the inductions of the people who actually got in this year. It should be a momentous occasion for women's hockey to see the first two female players honoured in the Hall. Instead, Angela James' and Cammi Granato's inductions will always be overshadowed by the slight to Burns. Dino Ciccarelli, too, will always remember being part of the Hall class that screwed Pat Burns over. The second thing it does is make hockey look like a chump sport in the eyes of a lot of fans. Thousands of people lobbied to have Burns inducted this year on compassionate grounds, as well as merit. The committee's failure to do that is a big "screw you" to the people who wanted him in the Hall.

The wise men on the selection committee, however, decided that Jimmy Devellano, who's hale and hearty, and former Flames owner Doc Seaman (ever hear of him before? anyone?), who's already dead, were better inductees this year. I hope when Seaman's family is there to receive their father's award posthumously, they'll have some tips for Pat Burns' kids, who'll probably be doing the same thing whenever the committee decides to let a great coach in. I'm thinking some of the shine will be off the HOF ring by that time.

"We have an unbelievable tough task to make selections," Hall of Fame chairman Jim Gregory said. "We don't comment on anyone who wasn't selected." Great grammar, there, Jim. And, screw you and the committee too.


Kyle Roussel said...

What a disappointment. But should we be surprised? Is there a body or committe in the world that is capable of making the right call these days instead of either coweing behind policy/procedure/red tape? I don't think so. The baseball HOF got it right by inducting Dawson as an Expo when they could have easily placated Chicago and America by letting him with a Cubs cap. But I digress.

As I wrote on another blog, this decision is even worse than the Canadiens insistence on waiting for Larry Robinson's parents to pass away before retiring his jersey. We all knew it was coming, so why not do the right thing and let him enjoy it with his parents?

But this isn't about Robinson, it's about Burns, and the HOF has royally screwed him and his family. It's a reprehensible decision (or non-decision) and the suits there ought to be awash in shame today. It's inexplicable and inexcusable to simply let opportunity slide by.

Idiots. I'd seriously consider a boycott of the HOF, but it would be too easy considering I've already been there multiple times.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how given a chance to do something good few people take the opportunity instead letting their self importance get in the way. Burns was a great coach at all levels and deserves to be in the HOF now. Would love to know who the jerks are that voted against him.

As a Hab fan I never could understand how Geoffrion's number wasn't retired decades before it was. It was heartbreaking to have him die before it was raised to the rafters. Class is hard to come by in this world.

Stevo said...

Don't have much time to comment (i'm at work) but still wanted to say "great piece" and i couldn't agree more.

In every type of business i've ever known, sometimes, you have to make exceptions. Whether it be for your employees or your customers, exceptions are part of the game, and are usually there to address causes which are more human in nature. (Example: "The procedure is 'this', however i understand your situation, so i will exceptionally...".

That said, the NHL was in a position that it could have made this exception for Pat Burns. It didn't. I think it greatly shows that the NHL has long ways to go to show it has a human side, and is not just a big uncaring business.

But then again, this "non-induction" seems to me, to be in the image of the NHL's president Gary B. Inflexible and inhuman.

dwgs said...

Disgraceful is what it is. Tell them what you think.
Hall of Shame

moeman said...

Agree with J.T. and add Burns' great QMJHL career/record as a coach too.