Like Father, Like Son

Brendan Burke hopes to follow in his famous dad's footsteps

Monday, 05.13.2013 / 6:56 PM
Dave Vest

GLENDALE – Brendan Burke is listed 13th on the recently released NHL Central Scouting final rankings for North American Goalies for this year’s entry draft.

Burke, the son of Coyotes Assistant to the G.M./Goaltending Coach Sean Burke, is just another example of how far Arizona has come in producing talented young hockey players.

Brendan Burke grew up in the Grand Canyon State and learned to play the game in the Phoenix-area rinks while his dad played for the Coyotes from 1999-2004. He even took a turn tending net once at a Coyotes practice when he was 15.

“He’s a kid that’s been around the rink and in an NHL dressing room since he was two years old,” Sean Burke said. “He learned a lot when he was younger just by being in that environment and by watching NHL games and practices. It’s in his blood.”

Brendan Burke is currently playing for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League. In 33 regular-season games, Burke posted a 24-5-1 record and a 2.65 goals-against average for Portland, which won the WHL title over the weekend. Next up is a trip to the Memorial Cup, which starts on Friday.

“He had a real good year,” Sean Burke said. “He played a lot of games and he really improved from early in the season to the end of the season. He’s getting bigger and stronger, and he’s worked very hard on improving his skills and on the technical side of his game. He’s really come a long way.”

Sean Burke said he watches all of his son’s games - either live or on DVR - and that they speak daily.

“It’s a little bit nerve-racking being the parent of a goaltender,” Sean said. “It’s not easy to watch, especially because I’ve played the position. I can tell in the first five minutes of a lot of his games if he’s sharp or if he’s fighting it a little bit. And fighting it is just part of the learning process. You don’t expect a young kid to play great every night, and there are lessons to be learned when you’re fighting it to become a good player.”

Brendan has served as the backup to Portland starter Mac Carruth during the WHL playoffs.

“He’s a very coachable kid,” Sean Burke said. “He’s been around the rink so he understands the hard work that goes into it and the commitment needed, and he’s never been afraid to work hard. His biggest asset is that he’s got a real good head on his shoulders to complement his natural ability. He knows what he wants to do and he’s going to work hard at it.”

The 2013 NHL Entry Draft is June 30.

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