Shawn Burr, who played 16 NHL seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, Tampa Bay Lightning and San Jose Sharks, died Monday, multiple sources have reported. He was 47.
While Burr had been battling cancer, he died around 7 p.m. after a fall in his St. Clair home that caused massive brain trauma, according to Dave Goetze, who runs the Shawn Burr Foundation.
Former Lightning center Brian Bradley played alongside Burr for two seasons, but their history on the ice spans from juniors to the NHL.
“Shawn was very competitive,” said Bradley. “Even when he played juniors in Kitchener and when he played for the Red Wings for many years. He came to play every night.”
Burr played in 159 games for the Lightning (1995-96 to 1996-97 and 1999-2000), compiling 65 points (27 goals and 38 assists). The Sarnia, Ontario native was also a part of the first postseason berth in franchise history during the 1995-96 season.
“Shawn was a great guy and was very instrumental when we made the playoffs,” said Bradley. “He was a great team player. He played hard, was very funny in the dressing room and had a great attitude.”
Drafted seventh overall by the Detroit Red Wings in 1984, Burr would go on to make his debut the very next season, spending 11 years with the Red Wings before ending his career with the Lightning. He’d finish his tenure after appearing in 878 NHL games with 181 goals and 259 assists, totaling 440 points. Burr didn’t just make a name for himself by his numbers though, he had the character too.
“He was a true professional and very difficult to play against,” said Bradley. “He could score, fight, play defensive hockey and was the complete package on the ice, but he was so funny too. He had that sense of humor that not many guys have.”
In February of 2011 Burr was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and became cancer-free after a number of treatments. The following year, however, cancer returned.
Burr went on to create his own foundation to raise money for children, before shifting focus to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society after his diagnosis. The veteran of the NHL also was active in the Red Wings Alumni Association.
“He was one of those teammates you could always count on,” Bradley added. “Any time there was a problem on the ice he was always there for you, just like his family, so he’ll be greatly missed.”
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