(PHOTO COURTESY OF THE OHL)
KINGSTON, Ont. - George Burnett, a McGill graduate who was the first member of the hockey Redmen to earn all-Canadian honours, earned his 500th career victory as a head coach in the Ontario Hockey League, Friday.
A 49-year-old native of Port Perry, Ont., Burnett reached his milestone victory as coach and general manager of the Belleville Bulls and in an 8-1 rout over the Kingston Frontenacs. Bulls' goalie Malcolm Subban stopped 33 shots for the win and his younger brother Jordan Subban, a rookie defenceman, had a goal and an assist in the win. Both are the younger brothers of Habs rearguard P.K. Subban.
Burnett skated for the Redmen from 1982 to 1984 and set a McGill single-season record (since broken) with 81 points in 38 games overall during his freshman campaign.
Burnett becomes just the sixth coach in OHL history to win 500 games following Brian Kilrea (1,193), Bert Templeton (907), Larry Mavety (658), Dick Todd (558) and Peter DeBoer (539).
Earlier this season Burnett became just the fifth OHL coach to reach the 1000 game milestone behind Mavety (1,458 games), Templeton (1,735 games), Kilrea (2,156 games), and Stan Butler (1,044) who reached the milestone last season and continues to coach the Brampton Battalion.
Since graduating with a physical education degree in 1985, Burnett has had OHL coaching stints in Niagara Falls, Oshawa, Guelph and Belleville. Burnett was awarded the Matt Leyden Trophy as the OHL coach of the year for the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons. In 1997-98, he guided the Guelph to the OHL's J. Ross Robertson Cup and a berth in the Memorial Cup tournament.
He also coached in the American Hockey League with the Binghampton Rangers and Cape Breton Oilers, leading the Oilers to a Calder Cup championship in 1994. At the age of 32, Burnett became the third-youngest head coach in National Hockey League history when he was appointed to guide the Edmonton Oilers in the 1994-95 season. He also served as an assistant coach with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, and was bench boss of the Canadian national under-18 team that won gold at the 2010 Ivan Hlinka memorial tournament.
Later this month, he will return for a second stint as an assistant coach with the Canadian Hockey League's national junior team when Canada hosts the 2012 IIHF world junior championship in Calgary and Edmonton. He is among a list of other McGill grads who have had coaching stints with that elite program, including Mike Babcock, Real Paiement and Guy Boucher.
In October, 2009, Burnett was inducted into the Township of Scugog Sports Hall of Fame in a ceremony in his hometown of Port Perry.
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