Burns' death hits Gilmour hard

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:26 PM ET

MONTREAL -- A devastated Doug Gilmour could not find the appropriate words.

He knew this day would come. But it didn't make it easier. Or any less painful.

Reached moments after the news broke that his ex-coach, Pat Burns, had died after a valiant battle against cancer, a shaken Gilmour could hardly speak.

"I just heard -- I can't talk about it right now," Gilmour told the Toronto

Sun, his voice cracking with emotion, just before he was to guide his junior team, the Kingston Frontenacs, against the Rangers in Kitchener Friday night.

"It's such a sad, sad day."

Six weeks ago, Gilmour and Burns had shared an embrace during the ground-breaking ceremony for the soon-to-be-built Pat Burns Arena in Stanstead, Que.

It was, in the end, their way of saying goodbye to each other.

"It was so good to see him," Gilmour said at the time, adding that "it's sad. There really isn't any other way to put it."

On that beautiful early October day in Quebec's Eastern Townships, Gilmour and Burns had their picture taken together.

It is a keepsake the former Maple Leaf captain will cherish.

Just like the fond memories of his former coach.


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