Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Adam Burt

Adam Burt was one of those many defensemen who were quietly reliable - but never spectacular - night in and night out during his 737 NHL game career. As a result, history is likely to all but forget about him.

Born in Detroit, Michigan. He grew up as a rink rat as his father worked at the Olympia Arena. Burt learned to skate on the same ice his idol skated on for so many years - Gordie Howe.

Burt crossed the border into Ontario to play junior hockey for the North Bay Centennials of the OHL. In 1987 he was drafted 39th overall by the Hartford Whalers in the NHL Entry Draft.

Big Burt would become a mainstay with the organization, following the team to Carolina as part of the franchise's location. As he matured into a NHL regular he became a coach's favorite because he was always consistent and enthusiastic. As a veteran coaches would often pair Burt with the newcomers.

Despite his size he was not a notably strong or aggressive player. Instead he was a heady defender, using his smarts as an excellent one-on-one defender. He had a very active stick, often poking away the puck from the attacker. He made smart, safe outlet passes but rarely rushed the puck out of the zone as his foot speed was only average.

Offensively Burt offered little, though he was shoe-horned into a second power play unit role due to a lack of depth in Hartford. He more or less was there to hold the blue line and fire from the point, although once in a while he would surprise everyone with a sneak into slot for a one timer.

Also briefly playing with Philadelphia and Atlanta late in his career, Adam Burt scored 37 goals, 115 assists and 152 points while accumulating 961 PIMs in 737 career games. He added a lonely assist in 21 playoff contests.

According to Wikipedia, in his post-hockey life Burt became a noted born-again Christian, serveing on the pastoral staff of Morning Star New York in Manhattan, New York.  He also work with a sports ministry out of Austin, Texas called Champions for Christ.

His journey with God began as an 11 year old, although it was not until he was drafted in 1987 that he fully committed to the Lord. And he fully believes the Lord helped him become a NHL player.

"[God] taught me how to practice," explained Burt to Living Light News Online. He quotes Colossians 3:23 - "'Whatever you do, do it heartily as unto the Lord and not unto man.' Even when my coach wasn't looking at me I was busting hard and not just going through the motions, because God was watching me."

God may have helped him achieve his dream of playing in the NHL, but Burt believes God has bigger plans for him.

"I really feel like my whole life has been gearing up to this point," says Burt. "I want people to know that Jesus is alive and well. He's got a great plan for their life, a destiny, a calling."

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