The Brian Burke videos at the bottom of this post are in the must-watch category. One explains his hard-line stance on anti-bullying, and the other is a fascinating story about how his son Brendan helped mend his relationship with Edmonton Oilers ex-GM and current president Kevin Lowe, which (literally) almost came to blows after the Dustin Penner offer sheet fiasco.
I got to know Brian Burke’s late son Brendan after I wrote this column on ending gay slurs in hockey in 2009, and he reached out to express his gratitude. I asked if I could tell his story – the son of Brian Burke was openly gay and working in hockey – and he was happy to get that out there, on one condition: the approval of Miami University’s head coach Enrico Blasi (he was the team’s student-manager), and that of his dad.
He got both.
John Buccigross of ESPN ended up telling his tremendous story (if you’re gonna run with a big story like this – and it was going to be big – you might as well get as many eyes on it as possible), and that’s when we really got to know what kind of man Brian Burke is.
Despite what you may think about how he occasionally comes off (a bit gruff, maybe?), we learned that he’s the kind of man that backs up his words. He said he’d stand by his son with an axe. He marches in Toronto’s gay pride parade. And now, he’s stepped up to help fight bullying.
Burke gave theScore’s Sophia Jurksztowicz a lengthy interview on the work he’s doing, and as I mentioned, you aren’t gonna wanna miss the teasers below – he’s incredibly candid. He discusses how Brendan helped mend his relationship with Kevin Lowe, which was at one point a full-blown disaster (including – and how crazy is this – they were going to rent a barn in Lake Placid and have an ACTUAL fist fight before Gary Bettman found out, called and intervened).
All in all, Burke is just a fascinating man with a good heart. The full interview will be shared via theScore and theScore.com next week. Among the topics discussed:
- His work to help stop bullying.
- How his son Brendan changed his life.
- The details of his typical gameday experience (rightdown to his 5-shot long espresso order at Starbucks).
- How he clearly defines his role vs Ron Wilson’s.
- Who he was rooting for in last season’sStanley Cup finals.
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