George Burnett (ice hockey)

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George Burnett
Born (1962-03-25) March 25, 1962 (age 52)
Occupation coach and general manager of the Belleville Bulls in the Ontario Hockey League
former NHL coach

George Burnett (born March 25, 1962) is the coach and general manager of the Belleville Bulls in the Ontario Hockey League. Burnett briefly coached the Edmonton Oilers for part of the 1994–1995 National Hockey League season before being fired by General Manager Glen Sather and replaced by assistant coach Ron Low.

Playing career[edit]

London Knights[edit]

Burnett began his junior hockey career with the London Knights of the OHL in the 1979-80, where in 68 games, he scored 14 goals and 29 points.

Burnett saw his offensive numbers explode in his second season with the Knights in 1980-81, as he scored 17 goals and 76 points in 67 games to finish fourth in team scoring.

Burnett returned to London for a third season in 1981-82, as in 68 games, he scored 26 goals and 92 points, which was the third highest point total on the Knights. In four playoff games, Burnett scored a goal and two points.

In 203 career games with the Knights, Burnett scored 57 goals and 140 assists for 197 points.

McGill Redmen[edit]

Following his junior career with the London Knights of the OHL, Burnett joined the McGill Redmen of the CIAU in 1982-83, where he was recruited and coached by Head Coach Ken Tyler. In 38 games with McGill, Burnett had 21 goals and 81 points. In 43 games with McGill in 1983-84, Burnett had 22 goals and 59 points. He appeared in three games with the Redmen in 1984-85, scoring two goals and six points.

Coaching career[edit]

Oshawa Generals (1989-1990)[edit]

Burnett began the 1989-90 season as an assistant coach on the Oshawa Generals, under head coach Rick Cornacchia. Midway through the season, Burnett left the Generals and became the head coach of the Niagara Falls Thunder.

Niagara Falls Thunder (1989-1992)[edit]

Burnett took over the Niagara Falls Thunder midway through the 1989-90 season after the team began the season 4-14-2 under Bill LaForge. Under Burnett, Niagara Falls had a 19-25-2 record to earn the final playoff spot in the Emms Division. In the post-season, the Thunder defeated the heavily favoured London Knights in six games in the first round, followed by a five game series victory over the Owen Sound Platers to earn a trip to the Emms Division finals. Niagara Falls playoff run came to an end, as the Thunder lost to the Kitchener Rangers in five games.

In 1990-91, Burnett led the Thunder to a 39-18-9 record, earning 87 points and a second place finish in the Emms Division. Burnett was awarded the Matt Leyden Trophy for OHL Coach of the Year, as the Thunder improved by 37 points over the previous season. In the playoffs, the Thunder opened up the first round against the Kitchener Rangers, who eliminated Niagara Falls the previous year. The Thunder would get their revenge, as they defeated Kitchener in six games. In the next round, the Thunder easily defeated the Windsor Spitfires in four games to earn their second consecutive trip to the Emms Division finals under Burnett. Niagara Falls proved to be no match for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, as they were swept in four games.

Burnett returned for a third season with the Thunder in 1991-92, as he led the club to a 39-23-4 record, earning 82 points and second place in the Emms Division for the second straight season, and a third consecutive playoff berth. In the first round of the playoffs, the Thunder survived a scare, as the underdog Detroit Jr. Red Wings took Niagara Falls to seven games before the Thunder were able to win the series. In the second round of the playoffs, Niagara Falls defeated the London Knights in five games, however, for the second straight season, the Thunder would lose to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the Emms Division finals, as the Greyhounds won the series in five games.

After the season, Burnett stepped down as head coach of the Thunder, as he accepted a job with the Cape Breton Oilers of the AHL.

Cape Breton Oilers (1992-1994)[edit]

Burnett became the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers AHL affiliate, the Cape Breton Oilers, for the 1992-93 AHL season. In his first season with the club, Burnett led Cape Breton to a 36-32-12 record, earning 84 points and third place in the Atlantic Division, earning a playoff berth. In the first round of the playoffs, the Oilers defeated the Fredericton Canadiens in five games to earn a spot in the Atlantic Division finals, facing the heavily favoured St. John's Maple Leafs. The Oilers then swept the Maple Leafs in four games to advance to a best-of-three series against the Springfield Indians, with the winner advancing to the Calder Cup finals. Cape Breton defeated the Indians in two games and faced the Rochester Americans for the Calder Cup. Cape Breton easily defeated the Americans in five games to capture the championship.

Burnett returned to Cape Breton in 1993-94, however, the club struggled to a 32-35-13 record, earning 77 points and fourth place in the Atlantic Division, and a second straight playoff appearance. In the post-season, the Oilers lost to the St. John's Maple Leafs in five games in the first round to end their season.

After the season, Burnett was promoted to become the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers of the NHL.

Edmonton Oilers (1994-1995)[edit]

Burnett took over the head coaching duties of the Edmonton Oilers of the NHL for the lockout shortened 1994-95 season. On January 20, 1995, Burnett coached his first NHL game, defeating the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 2-1. The Oilers would hover around the .500 level, as they had a 12-13-3 record through 27 games, however, the club then lost seven games in a row to fall to 12-20-3. The losing streak would cost Burnett his job, as the Oilers relieved him of his duties, replacing him with assistant coach Ron Low.

Binghamton Rangers (1995-1997)[edit]

Burnett joined the New York Rangers AHL affiliate, the Binghamton Rangers, in the 1995-96 season as the head coach of the team. In his first season with Binghamton, Burnett led the club to the South Division title with a 39-31-7-3 record, earning 88 points. In the playoffs, the Rangers were upset by the Syracuse Crunch in the first round.

Burnett returned to Binghamton for the 1996-97 season, however, the Rangers struggled in the newly created Empire Division, going 27-38-13-2, finishing in last place with 69 points. The Rangers did earn a playoff berth, but lost to the St. John's Maple Leafs in the first round of the post-season.

After the season, Burnett left the Rangers and joined the Guelph Storm of the OHL.

Guelph Storm (1997-1998)[edit]

Burnett became the head coach of the Guelph Storm of the OHL for the 1997-98 season, as he led the Storm to the Central Division title with a 42-18-6 record, earning 90 points. The Storm earned a first round bye in the playoffs, and in the OHL quarter-finals, they quickly swept the Sudbury Wolves in four games. In the OHL semi-finals, Guelph swept the Plymouth Whalers in four games to earn a spot in the J. Ross Robertson Cup finals. In the OHL championship, the Storm easily dispatched the Ottawa 67's in five games to earn the J. Ross Robertson Cup, and a berth in the 1998 Memorial Cup. At the Memorial Cup, Burnett led the Storm to a 2-1 round-robin record, earning a berth in the semi-final game, against the Spokane Chiefs. Guelph defeated Spokane 2-1 in overtime and faced the Portland Winterhawks to decide the winner of the Memorial Cup. In the final game, the Storm fell to the Winterhawks 4-3 in overtime to finish in second place in the tournament.

Following the season, Burnett left the Storm to become an assistant coach on the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (1998-2000)[edit]

Burnett became an assistant coach under head coach Craig Hartsburg of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim of the NHL for the 1998-99 season. In his first season with the Mighty Ducks, the team finished with a 35-34-13 record, earning 83 points and sixth place in the Western Conference. In the playoffs, the Mighty Ducks were swept by the Detroit Red Wings in four games.

Burnett returned to the Mighty Ducks in the 1999-2000 season, as the Mighty Ducks finished 34-33-12-3, earning 83 points, however, the club failed to qualify for the playoffs, as they finished the season in ninth place in the Western Conference.

After the season, Burnett left the Mighty Ducks and returned to the Ontario Hockey League, becoming the head coach of the Oshawa Generals.

Oshawa Generals (2000-2004)[edit]

In his first season with the Oshawa Generals of the OHL in 2000-01, Burnett took over a rebuilding club, as they struggled to a 20-36-7-5 record, earning 52 points and finishing in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, missing the playoffs.

The Generals improved in the 2001-02 season, earning a record of 23-33-7-5, earning 58 points, and qualifying for the playoffs as the club finished in seventh place in the Eastern Conference. In the playoffs, Oshawa was no match for the Belleville Bulls, who won the opening round series in five games.

Oshawa continued to improve in the 2002-03 season, going 34-30-2-2, earning 72 points and sixth place in the conference for their second straight playoff appearance. In the post-season, the Generals upset the third place Peterborough Petes in seven games in the first round, however, Oshawa lost in six games to the Ottawa 67's in the second round of the playoffs.

The Generals once again made the playoffs in the 2003-04, finishing the season with a 30-29-8-1 record, earning 69 points and sixth place in the conference. In the playoffs, Oshawa lost a thrilling seven game series to the Mississauga IceDogs.

After the season, Burnett left the Generals and joined their divisional rivals, the Belleville Bulls as head coach.

Belleville Bulls (2004-pres)[edit]

Burnett became the head coach of the Belleville Bulls of the OHL for the 2004-05 season, taking over a team that had won 15 games the previous season. In his first season with the Bulls, Burnett led the club to a 29-29-6-4 record, earning 68 points, and seventh place in the Eastern Conference. In the opening round of the playoffs, the Bulls lost to the Peterborough Petes in five games.

In 2005-06, the Bulls improved their record to 32-28-5-3, earning 72 points and another seventh place finish in the conference. In the post-season, Belleville lost to the Brampton Battalion in six games in the first round.

Burnett led the Bulls to the East Division title in 2006-07, as Belleville finished the season with a 39-24-0-5 record, earning 83 points and second place in the Eastern Conference. In the post-season, the Bulls easily defeated the Ottawa 67's in five games in the first round, followed by a four game sweep over the Oshawa Generals in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. In the Eastern Conference finals, the Bulls lost to the Sudbury Wolves in six games.

In 2007-08, Burnett led the Bulls to an Eastern Conference best record of 48-14-4-2, as the team earned 102 points. In the playoffs, Belleville rolled through the Peterborough Petes in five games in the first round, followed by a four game sweep over the Barrie Colts in the second round. In the Eastern Conference finals, the Bulls easily defeated the Oshawa Generals in five games to earn a spot in the J. Ross Robertson Cup final, against the Kitchener Rangers. After the Rangers took a 3-0 series lead, the Bulls stormed back to win three in a row to set up a seventh and final game. Kitchener won the seventh game 4-1 to win the OHL championship, however, since they were hosting the 2008 Memorial Cup, the Bulls qualified for the tournament. At the 2008 Memorial Cup, Belleville had a 2-1 record in the round-robin, finishing in second place and earned a berth in the semi-final game, against the Kitchener Rangers. Kitchener ended up winning the semi-final game 9-0, as the Bulls finished the tournament in third place.

The Bulls had another very strong season in 2008-09, finishing with the best record in the Eastern Conference for the second consecutive season, going 47-17-2-2, earning 98 points. In the playoffs, the Bulls defeatd the Sudbury Wolves in six games in the first round, followed by a five game series win over the Niagara IceDogs in the second round, to earn their third straight trip to the Eastern Conference finals, against the Brampton Battalion. The Battalion proved to be too much for the Bulls to handle, as Brampton won the series in six games.

In 2009-10, the Bulls began to rebuild, as the club finished last in the Eastern Conference with a 20-40-2-6 record, earning 48 points, well out of a playoff position.

Burnett led the Bulls back into the playoffs in the 2010-11 season, as Belleville finished in eighth place in the conference with a 21-43-0-4 record, getting 46 points. In the first round of the playoffs, the Bulls were swept by the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors in four games, as the club scored only one goal in the entire series.

Belleville had a solid season in 2011-12, finishing with a 35-32-1-0 record, earning 71 points, good for seventh in the conference. In the post-season, the Bulls lost to the Ottawa 67's in six games.

The Bulls saw a huge improvement during the 2012-13 season, as the club went 44-16-5-3, finishing with 96 points, and first place in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls defeated the Mississauga Steelheads in six games in the opening round of the playoffs, winning their first series since 2009. In the second round, Belleville swept the Sudbury Wolves, earning a trip to the Conference finals. The Bulls then lost to the Barrie Colts in a tough seven game series.

Coaching record[edit]

NHL[edit]

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
G W L T Pts Finish Result
EDM 1994–95 35 12 20 3 (38) 5th in Pacific (Fired)

Minor leagues[edit]

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
G W L T OTL Pts Finish Result
NF 1989–90 46 19 25 2 - (50) 6th in Emms Lost in third round
NF 1990–91 66 39 18 9 - 87 2nd in Emms Lost in third round
NF 1991–92 66 39 23 4 - 82 2nd in Emms Lost in third round
CAP 1992–93 80 36 32 12 - 84 3rd in Atlantic Won Calder Cup
CAP 1993–94 80 32 35 13 - 77 4th in Atlantic Lost in first round
BNG 1995–96 80 39 31 7 3 88 1st in South Lost in first round
BNG 1996–97 80 27 38 13 2 69 5th in Empire State Lost in first round
GUE 1997–98 66 42 18 6 - 90 1st in Central Won J. Ross Robertson Cup
OSH 2000–01 68 20 36 7 5 52 5th in East Missed playoffs
OSH 2001–02 68 23 33 7 5 58 4th in East Lost in first round
OSH 2002–03 68 34 30 2 2 72 4th in East Lost in Second round
OSH 2003–04 68 30 29 8 1 69 3rd in East Lost in first round
BEL 2004–05 68 29 29 6 4 68 3rd in East Lost in first round
BEL 2005–06 68 32 28 - 8 72 3rd in East Lost in first round
BEL 2006–07 68 39 24 - 5 83 1st in East Lost in third round
BEL 2007–08 68 48 14 - 6 102 1st in East Lost in OHL Finals
BEL 2008–09 68 47 17 - 4 98 1st in East Lost in third round
BEL 2009–10 68 20 40 - 8 48 5th in East Missed playoffs
BEL 2010–11 68 21 43 - 4 46 4th in East Lost in first round
BEL 2011–12 68 35 32 - 1 71 2nd in East Lost in first round
BEL 2012–13 68 44 16 - 8 96 1st in East Lost in third round

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Bill LaForge
Head coach of the Niagara Falls Thunder
1989–92
Succeeded by
Larry Marson
Preceded by
Glen Sather
Head coach of the Edmonton Oilers
1994–95
Succeeded by
Ron Low
Preceded by
E.J. McGuire
Head coach of the Guelph Storm
1997–98
Succeeded by
Geoff Ward
Preceded by
John Goodwin
Head coach of the Oshawa Generals
2000–04
Succeeded by
Bob McGill
Preceded by
James Boyd
Head coach of the Belleville Bulls
2004–present
Incumbent