December 1, 2008
Family matters for Burke
By JODY VANCE, SUN MEDIA
As you watch tonight's Leafs game you'll want to plan to stay in your seat for the intermissions, as you will be served up Brian Burke as you have never seen him before.
Burke shares stories about how he became the man he is today, details you've likely not heard, or read, before.
The fourth-oldest of 10 kids, Burke half jokingly quips: "If I'm loud, I really had to be in order to be heard in my family."
Burke's family held education as a top priority. "Sports was a distant second and nine of us have university degrees, most Ivy League, five have graduate degrees."
He was a good student, a very good student, but he wanted to be a hockey player.
Early on in his Providence College playing days, where he was captain, Burke wasn't always headed to class, however his coach, Lou Lamoriello, forced him to take the LSAT exams -- then gave him little option beyond attending Harvard Law. It's a very funny story that is not to be missed.
The road to the helm of the Leafs has been a tough one, and his hard work has paid off. Burke's resume reads ideal for this job: Harvard Law degree, player, agent, league executive, assistant GM, GM -- even a Stanley Cup. However, the greatest challenge for this straight shooter has been to get his children all in one time zone.
Some say he took it for the money; others say it's for his ego, but those of us who know Brian Burke know the truth: This really is all about family.
The details on that topic and so much more are served up in-game tonight, so grab your snacks in commercial breaks -- not period breaks -- for this one.
-- Jody Vance is a sportscaster and personality with Leafs TV. Her columns appear Mondays in 24 hours.