Former Flames president of hockey ops Brian Burke reflects in memoir
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He touches one of his biggest influences, Lou Lamoriello, who was then the head coach at Providence College that recruited Burke out of high school, and the impact he had on his approach to the game in an entire chapter called “Lou’s Rules.”
Lamoriello was the one who encouraged Burke to take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) — encouraged, as in, telling him “You’re taking the f*****g exam.” Providence was also where he learned to tie his tie, tearing the directions out of a magazine and wearing it on his recruiting trip.
His professional stint in Portland transitions into his time at Harvard Law School, meeting (and marrying) his first wife Kerry Gilmore, the birth of his daughter Katie, and becoming a hockey agent in the early days.
Burke had some Flames connections even back then, representing Flames alumnus Joel Otto, who is widely regarded as one of the best college free agent signings, and Brett Hull who was drafted 117th overall in 1984. He recounts Hull’s rookie year playing for Terry Crisp, then coaching the Flames’ AHL farm team in Moncton, which “wasn’t a great fit” from the beginning.
It didn’t help matters that Hull was, ahem, on the chunky side (Burke, at one point, says to Hull, “You’re f*****g fat, Brett”) and needed a swift kick in the rear end.
Or, as Burke says in his memoir, “He needed somebody to punch him right in the face.”
The book discusses his special relationship with Pat Quinn who had a law school degree (like Burke), strong morals, was a good listener and “had a great gift for making people feel important.” He also assigned Burke to deal with the media in Vancouver for the first time he was a public face for a hockey team — and was the beginning of his, at times, combative relationship with some media members.