Such public debate only serves to make Burke more recognizable. He is asked late in the conversation if he craves the spotlight, if he enjoys – even needs – the attention. And for the first time in a very long conversation, he is speechless.
“I am trying to think of the right answer,” he says after a very long pause. “And I guess the right answer is that I accept it.
“The one part that I like is that it allows you to throw some real heavy weight into charity work. I'm very proud of the fact that I have made a difference in every NHL city in which I've worked. I've used the office of general manager to enact change. I work for Ducks Unlimited. I do work for Big Brothers and Sisters, Special Olympics, military and now Canadian Safe Schools Network ….
“I do as much as I can to make a difference where I live. I am proud to live in Toronto and I am proud to spend that time. I was brought up that way by my parents. And as long as I am GM I intend to use that office to make things better in Toronto. I feel very fortunate to have this job and to live in Toronto. I love this city. And I like the way our team is coming together.
“I have the best job in hockey – and it's the worst job in hockey. But I wouldn't trade places with anybody.”
Editor's note: Ron Wilson and Brian Burke were not college roommates. The on-line version of this story has been corrected.