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Ex-Leafs boss accepts Rugby Canada post

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TORONTO -- It's a sport Brian Burke loves, and one that he is happy to follow closely whenever he gets the chance.

Rugby, not just hockey, has been in Burke's heart for decades. He's played it, watched it and will now take part in directing it as well.

Rugby Canada announced Tuesday that Burke is joining its board of directors, giving the former NHL executive a chance to get involved in what he calls his "second favourite sport."

"I'm really excited about it," said Burke. "I think it's a great sport and I think the future of rugby in Canada is very bright."

The former general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs first played rugby following a brief playing career in hockey. When he was a 23-year-old law student, Burke said he noticed the Harvard Business School Rugby Football Club practising near where he lived and asked if he could join.

"I never played before, never watched before. My older brother played a little bit but I wasn't familiar with the sport," he said. "But I learned to love it. I played for two years after I graduated even though I was practising law."

Now 58 years old, Burke is an avid fan of the game.

He said he goes to as many of Canada's international games in Toronto as he can, and once even saw the senior men's team play Japan in Bordeaux, France in 2007.

"Brian has a deep understanding of professional sports in North America and, with his successes and contacts across the National Hockey League and beyond, we're happy to have him involved with Rugby Canada," Graham Brown, chief executive officer of Rugby Canada, said in a release.

 

Bruins promote Gretzky

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins have promoted Keith Gretzky, the younger brother of hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, to director of amateur scouting.

The team also hired P.J. Axelsson as a European amateur scout and named Keith Sullivan an amateur scout.

Gretzky joined the Bruins organization in 2011 as an amateur scout. He has also scouted for the Phoenix Coyotes.

Axelsson spent 11 years with the Bruins as a player before joining the organization as an amateur scout.

Sullivan spent four seasons with the Coyotes and one with the Winnipeg Jets.

Also Tuesday, the Bruins, the defending Eastern Conference champions, renewed their affiliation with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL.

 

Court date for Tremblay

 

MONTREAL -- Former hockey star and NHL coach Mario Tremblay faces a court date next week on a drinking-and-driving charge.

The ex-Montreal Canadien is accused of having refused to submit to a breathalyzer test in January in suburban Mascouche, Que.

He pleaded not-guilty on June 18 and his next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 28 at Mascouche's municipal courthouse.

The 56-year-old was a gritty right-winger who scored 258 goals before his career was cut short by injury.

Later, he coached the Habs during a two-year stint behind the bench best remembered for the feud that chased Patrick Roy out of Montreal.

 

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 21, 2013 C2

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