Fans feel for Burke family in wake of tragic loss

IAN ROBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:28 AM ET

Fans at Saturday’s Leafs-Senators game expressed sympathy for the death of manager Brian Burke’s youngest son Brendan in a car wreck Friday.

“It’s horrible,” said Derek Smith, 22, who flew from Halifax with a pal and their girlfriends for the Air Canada Centre game.

“At 21 or 22, you still have a lot of plans,” he said. “I just thought how hard it would be for his family.”

Kelsie Baker said, “my heart goes out” to Brian Burke. “It’s heartbreaking.”

Sitting next to Andrew Butler, 23, also of Halifax, Kelsie’s sister Kendra, 22, said, “children aren’t supposed to die before their parents.”

Butler, who “used to play hockey,” hopes Burke knows “he has everyone around him for support.”

Martin Agnew, 43, of Oshawa, called Brendan’s death “a shame.

“His dad must be just devastated,” he said, adding Burke “has enough pressure going on now with the team and with the Olympics.”

Steve Darby, 36, of Sarnia, lauded the team for its pregame silent tribute.

“I’d like to offer my condolences, absolutely,” he said.

Attending with grandson Aiden Townsley-Baird, 9, Aberfoyle resident Ray Townsley said just hours before the deadly crash, a radio station ran an interview with Burke discussing his recent player trades and plans for the team.

The Leafs are a key part of Burke’s life, he said, “but I’d probably say to him try to keep the other children focused on the good part of life.”


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