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Puck Rock: Sean Burke

Sean Burke may be best known for stopping pucks (a quick stats overview: 300+ career wins, nine teams, 2001-02 Vezina finalist, two Canadian World Championships) but he’s also one of the most enthusiastic hockey people when it comes to music. Of course, if you saw him during his playing career, a quick snapshot could probably have told you that—he’s had a number of great guitar players on his goalie mask.

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Today, Sean has a front-office gig with the Phoenix Coyotes as head of prospect development. A long-time guitar player, Sean’s musical tastes vary, from his beloved Led Zeppelin to old-school heavy metal to newer country artist—and he’s the focus of this edition of Puck Rock.

During your time in the NHL, you were known for having musicians on your mask. Who were they and why’d you pick them?

Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Eric Clapton, Robert Plant, Slash…I tried to go with musicians that were an influence on me. I pretty much just wanted to put musicians on my mask that I really liked growing up.

(Here’s a good look at Sean’s mask from his days with the Coyotes)

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What’s in your guitar arsenal and what’s your most-prized axe (either for sound or sentimental value)?

A few Fender Strats, a Les Paul reissue (either ‘59 or ‘58…I always get it confused). I have a really nice group of acoustics. One of my favorites really has to be a custom-made Taylor that the Phoenix Coyotes got for me. It’s got a nice fretboard, pearl dot inlays, custom details all around.

Have you ever gotten to jam with some of your favorite artists? Who would you like to play with?

I got to jam with Garth Brooks, just me and him on stage. That was a cool experience. A few Canadian bands too. I’d love to jam with any of the guys on my mask (Page, Van Halen, Clapton, Slash, etc.), that’d be incredible.

Do you play any instruments besides guitar?

I play a little bass, just sometimes whenever I jam with my friends, though I don’t play it too much. I’m trying to learn to play the drums. I have a pretty nice kit, and I experiment with them a little bit just to get a feel for them.

Have you recorded any music? Would you let the public listen to it?

Not really. I have Apple Garage Band and I’ve had different recording programs but nothing serious. I might do a little more once I get setup after a house renovation.

A genie allows you to either play Game 7 for the Stanley Cup or play a show at Madison Square Garden as a member of Zeppelin. Which do you pick?

Game 7, but Zeppelin’s a very close second. Just to be able to get on stage, to get to jam with Zeppelin—with (drummer) John Bonham, of course. That’s be amazing.

Best concert you ever went to and why?

This might surprise you, but I can easily pick one. Michael Jackson at Buffalo’s Rich Stadium (now Ralph Wilson Stadium) as a 13-year-old. I’ve never seen anything like that, with that much energy. Still the best show I’ve seen.

Hit shuffle on your iPod. What comes up?

I don’t have it with me right now but there’s a lot of different stuff, a lot of eclectic stuff. I’m actually into country at the moment. Keith Urban, some other country. Tom Petty, he’d be on there. Some old Iron Maiden. It really could be any genre of music.

What are your five desert island discs (best-of compilations and live albums acceptable)?

Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti—that’s a double-album, so I get to cheat there.
The Beatles - White Album
Neil Young - Harvest
Fleetwood Mac - Rumors
Guns n’ Roses - Appetite For Destruction
That’s a pretty good mix. I think you’d be entertained on that island for a while, it’s a little bit of everything.

(Brief aside: I asked Sean if he’d heard any of the new GnR stuff and he said that he hadn’t. However, he said that his girlfriend actually went to the show last year and she thought it was great, that Axl was still a hell of a performer. I told him that the new stuff, at least from what I heard, just sounded like Nu-Metal with Axl singing over it, and we both agreed that that’s pretty disappointing and that Slash was integral to how good Appetite sounded.)

What song should they never play again at hockey arenas?

Oh god, that Todd Rundgren song, Bang The Drum All Day. That song drives me nuts whenever I hear it.

You’ve just won the Stanley Cup. What song do you want played over the cheesy montage at the end of the TV broadcast?

No question. We Are The Champions by Queen. That song gets me every time. Whenever it’s played with a champion, instant tears start flowing.

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