BELLEVILLE, Ont., — George Burnett earned his 600th career victory as a head coach in the Ontario Hockey League, Saturday, when his Belleville Bulls skated to a 4-1 victory over the visiting Ottawa 67s.
He is the second McGill University graduate to reach a coaching milestone in the past week, following in the footsteps of former Redmen teammate Mike Babcock, who collected his 500th NHL regular season conquest on Dec. 6.
Burnett becomes just the fourth coach in OHL history to win 600 games joining Brian Kilrea (1,193), Bert Templeton (907) and Larry Mavety (658). Since his first head coaching stint in 1989, Burnett has compiled a lifetime record of 746-737-100 in 1,583 regular season games overall in the NHL, AHL and OHL.
The 52-year-old native of Port Perry, Ont., is in his 11th season as coach and general manager with Belleville, where he has posted 354 wins. He also had 107 victories with the Oshawa Generals (2000-2004), in addition to 42 with the Guelph Platers (1997-98) and 97 with the Niagara Falls Thunder (1989-1992).
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. He was the first Redmen player to receive all-Canadian honours.
Since graduating from McGill with a physical education degree in 1985, he became the third-youngest head coach in National Hockey League history when appointed to guide the Edmonton Oilers, at the age of 32, in the 1994-95 season. He 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.
Burnett also coached in the American Hockey League with the Binghamton Rangers and Cape Breton Oilers, leading the Oilers to a Calder Cup championship in 1994.
He was twice awarded the Matt Leyden Trophy as 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, where he went up against Babcock, who was then guiding the Spokane Chiefs.
Burnett is among an elite list of five McGill grads who have had coaching stints with the Canadian national junior program, along with Babcock, Real Paiement, Guy Boucher and Martin Raymond.
In October, 2009, Burnett was inducted into the Township of Scugog Sports Hall of Fame in a ceremony in his hometown of Port Perry.
- McGill University, Bachelor of Education, 1985; Former High School teacher
- McGill University Redmen Hockey, CIS All-Canadian, CIS Scoring Champion 1983
- Player, London Knights, 1979-1982 (OHL)
- GM & Head Coach, Niagara Falls Thunder, Conference Finalists ’90, ’91, ’92
- OHL Coach of the Year, 1991 and 1992
- Head Coach, Cape Breton Oilers, AHL, Calder Cup Champions ’93
- Head Coach, Edmonton Oilers, NHL, 1994-95
- Head Coach, Binhamton Rangers, AHL, South Division Champions ’96
- Head Coach, Guelph Storm, OHL Champions, Memorial Cup Finalists ’98
- Named Head Coach, Team Canada U20 ’98
- Assistant Coach, Anaheim Ducks, NHL, 1998-2000
- GM & Head Coach, Oshawa Generals, OHL, 2000-2004
- Head Coach, Team Canada U18, Junior World Cup Gold Medalists
- GM & Head Coach, Belleville Bulls, OHL, 2004-Present
- OHL, East Division Champions, Conference Finalists ’07
- OHL, East Division Champions, Conference Champions ’08
- CHL, Memorial Cup Semi-Finalists ’08
- OHL, East Division Champions, Conference Finalists ’09
- OHL, East Division Champions, Conference Finalists ’13
- Assistant Coach, Team Canada U18 World Championships ’10
- Head Coach, Team Canada U18 Ivan Hlinka Tournament Gold Medalists ’10
- Assistant Coach, Team Canada U20 World Junior Championships Silver Medalists ’11
- Assistant Coach, Team Canada U20 World Junior Championships Bronze Medalists ’12
- Actively involved at league level as member of the OHL’s Competitions Committee and Recruitment Committee
GEORGE BURNETT’S CAREER COACHING RECORD
|1989-90||Niagara Falls||OHL||Head||46||19||25||2||–||Lost in round 3|
|1990-91||Niagara Falls||OHL||Head||66||39||18||9||–||Lost in round 3|
|1991-92||Niagara Falls||OHL||Head||66||39||23||4||–||Lost in round 3|
|1992-93||Cape Breton||AHL||Head||80||36||32||12||–||Won Championship|
|1993-94||Cape Breton||AHL||Head||80||32||35||13||–||Lost in round 1|
|1995-96||Binghamton||AHL||Head||80||39||31||7||3||Lost in round 1|
|1996-97||Binghamton||AHL||Head||80||27||38||13||2||Lost in round 1|
|1997-98||Guelph||OHL||Head||66||42||17||6||1||Won OHL Championship|
|2001-02||Oshawa||OHL||Head||68||23||33||7||5||Lost in round 1|
|2002-03||Oshawa||OHL||Head||68||34||30||2||2||Lost in round 2|
|2003-04||Oshawa||OHL||Head||68||30||29||8||1||Lost in round 1|
|2004-05||Belleville||OHL||Head||68||29||29||6||4||Lost in round 1|
|2005-06||Belleville||OHL||Head||68||32||28||0||8||Lost in round 1|
|2006-07||Belleville||OHL||Head||68||39||24||0||5||Lost in round 3|
|2007-08||Belleville||OHL||Head||68||48||14||0||6||Lost in Finals|
|2008-09||Belleville||OHL||Head||68||47||17||0||4||Lost in round 3|
|2010-11||Belleville||OHL||Head||68||21||43||0||4||Lost in round 1|
|2011-12||Belleville||OHL||Head||68||35||32||0||1||Lost in round 1|
|2012-13||Belleville||OHL||Head||68||44||16||0||8||Lost in round 3|