Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/18/10 at 11:50 AM ET
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
The general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs turned 55 early this summer. His once red hair – bulrushes for follicles – has turned the colour of spring ice. His big, glowing Irish face remains set in what appears to be constant fury, belying both the wit that lies not far beneath the surface and the sentimental sob that hides somewhat deeper. He is almost as complicated as his job description.
In a team that polarizes fans – lionized and loved by half the country, resented and ridiculed by the other half – Burke, far more than any individual player, has become the face of hockey’s most powerful franchise.
And given that the Leafs began the season as the NHL’s hottest club – currently sitting 4-0-0 – that polarization has risen to levels not even imagined by the Ignatieffs and Harpers of the country.
Burke is, for hockey circles, a bit of an enigma: an American who prefers Canadians; a journeyman player who chose school over dreaming; a man who is both gruff and articulate in a culture known for politeness and clichés.
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