TORONTO — -
Paul Henderson is still steering clear from the various campaigns to get him in the Hockey Hall Of Fame, but there is one name he’d like to hear coming out of Tuesday’s announcement.
Pat Burns is certainly the sentimental choice in the builders’ category as the former NHL coach is waging a brave battle against cancer. Henderson lent his support to the call to elect Burns while he is still healthy enough to accept it. The induction ceremony is in November.
“He should put be in,” said Henderson, the hero of the 1972 Canada-Russia series. “I hate that when they wait for people to die.
“I know he’s sick and I can identify with that having cancer (Henderson was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia last autumn), but I think he deserves to be in and I would celebrate that with him for sure.
“I think he was a great addition to the game, I loved his attitude, I loved him here in Toronto (he coached the Leafs five years), so I would really hope he gets in.”
Henderson understands the Hall selection committee can’t just start using declining health as part of its criteria.
“But you have to look at merit,” Henderson said of Burns coaching more than 1,000 games with 501 wins and a Stanley Cup.
Henderson is realistic about his own situation.
“If I was on the committee I wouldn’t vote for myself at all,” he said. “I don’t think I deserve to be in. I did not have a Hall of Fame career. I had a wonderful series in ‘72 with a great bunch of guys, but there are a lot of players (more deserving). Dean Prentice or Ron Ellis would deserve to be there more than I do.
“I never made the first or second all-star team, I never won a major trophy, so I have no problem with not being a member whatsoever. Quite frankly, I’m very comfortable with who I am and what I’ve accomplished.”