As you may know, I have been doing a series he calls, “One on One.” I catch up with someone from the sports world. In this segment, I sit down with a man who was part of a Philadelphia Phantoms Calder Cup team who also has a connection to another Philadelphia Champion.
An imposing figure at 6’3″ and 225 pounds, Garrett Burnett is the epitome of a journeyman. A gritty, determined man, Burnett kicked around just about every hockey league in North America. Burnie finally realized his dream and made it to the NHL.
A pleasant, extremely likable guy, Burnett was always the last off the ice for a practice who would sign autographs and take pictures until every fan was gone. I first met Burnie during his first game with the Phantoms, three fights in less than periods, after being dismissed from the contest he the big man went to the concourse to take in the Philadelphia spirit. Garrett Burnett, “Burnie” has played not one, not two, not three but, five intense sports.
Let’s Meet the Man, Garrett Burnett
KMN– Coquitlam….choices were hockey and lacrosse…you chose both…
GB– “Yes, but please don’t forget, as well as top levels of Hockey & Lacrosse, I also played Baseball, Football & Boxing.”
KMN– I understand you played goalie for a bit?
GB– “As a kid, I played goalie in Lacrosse only, and always in the highest levels with a lot of success, but when I got Drafted into the WLA (Western Lacrosse Association). I had already moved my Hockey career to Pro levels. So I went on to play in the WLA as a regular player, not a goalie anymore.”
KMN– New Westminster, for us East Coasters, how far is that from Coquitlam?
GB- “Just under 10 miles, they are both eastern parts of the city of Vancouver, almost neighboring each other at parts.”
KMN– In your lacrosse days…we’re there any guys you patterned yourself after?
GB– “Definitely, as a goalie. I was fortunate enough to play JRA in Burnaby, where Dallas Eliuk (Goalie for the Philadelphia Wings of Pro Lacrosse team) was playing in the WLA. He was a different style than me. I was a big goalie that relied on good angles. I got to practice with Dallas, and his Burnaby WLA team. His lifestyle motivated me, which was based more on quickness & movement”
KMN– You were asked to be on the practice team of the Arizona Sting team. What was that experience like?
GB– “I had been playing Pro Hockey in Phoenix that year, & a childhood friend and former teammate of mine, Peter Lough was playing on that team, so I signed with them, which would lead to me playing in the WLA that summer for the New Westminster Salmonbellies under a good friend Bobby Salt, and at that time, my parents were living in New Westminister, so it turned out well.”
On to Hockey
KMN– On to hockey…in your career you played for 23 different organizations in nine leagues, clearly, the NHL had to be he favorite…what are some others?
GB– “Yes, I loved the East Coast League. It got me connected with Nicky Fotiu. He helped me a ton, and got me up to the Philadelphia Phantoms. I was a part of the ‘98 Calder Cup Championship under Billy Barber.”
KMN– I met you in Philadelphia, you were an instant fan favorite…you had a famous housemate…Frank “The Animal” Bialowas…that had to be interesting….any funny stories you can share? Do you still keep in touch?
GB– “Yes for sure!! haha…we were always having fun!! After we won the Cup, we were introduced at a Phillies MLB Baseball game during the 7th inning stretch.was the last of my teammates to hold the Cup up for the Phillies fans, then the Philly Fanatic mascot got me to pass him the Cup, he held it up and got cheers at Vet Stadium, then he put the Cup on his golf cart, and made a gesture to me, pointing at his chin, so I looked at my teammates and they nodded, so I hit him with a clothes-line, and landed on top of him!! Haha!!”
KMN – The Danbury Trashers, a story until itself, what was playing there like?
GB- “I was under contract for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks NHL team, but the NHL was on Lock-out, so we weren’t playing. Jimmy & AJ Galante (team owners) let me live at their house and practice with the team and go on the bench as a coach during games. But, when we received the news that the NHL season was completely canceled, I dressed for a couple of games, but it was kind of difficult, for some reason the refs were all over me out there!! Haha”
Note– Garrett Burnett had a furious temper and threw a net at a goalie.
KMN– Are you still involved with giving back to the community?
GB-“I recently moved to the Minnesota Iron Range, and I was looking to organize a Hockey Program for the youth of the area, but I underwent 3 knee surgeries between July to September, and I’m still not quite in skating shape, but I’m working on it, and without the ability to participate and skate, that kind of nullifies my chances for this Winter, but maybe next Winter..”
KMN– You relocated from Las Vegas to Minnesota…how different is the lifestyle?
GB– “It’s obviously a lot different than living in the desert, but there are some advantages to that too. I may not be able to ride my Harley 12 months of the year over here, but they have really cool outdoor ice rinks, and frozen lakes everywhere, and even though it snows a lot, there’s also a lot of sunlight. The people here are really cool too, very humble & genuine.”
KMN– You had a few serious incidents…is everything well now?
GB– “Life is full of challenges, and adversity is a positive thing to me, overcoming adversity has made me who I am, and I look forward to all the days ahead!!
We would like to Thank, Garrett Burnett, GB, GBurn, Rocky…he attracts a new name everywhere he goes! Thanks for taking the time to do it and we here at Edge of Philly Sports wish you the best in all you do!!!
Kevin has followed and promoted the game of lacrosse since May 19, 1974.
The same day the Philadelphia Flyers won the Cup, the Philadelphia Wings were introduced to Neibauer and Philadelphia.
Kevin has covered many sports, including baseball, football, basketball, and.. lacrosse. A former licensed football referee and baseball umpire, Kevin brings a unique insight to his game coverage.
A published writer in JustHockey Magazine, Kevin covered the American Hockey League as well as a monthly story on a pugilist where Kevin used the pen name, The Rink Rat. Neibauer turned his attentions to lacrosse for a few years and does his part, whether podcasting or writing to grow the game. Kevin branched out to his roots and currently provides insight for all Philadelphia teams for Edge of Philly as well as his full-time duties with LaxPhilly.