COVID-19 Close-up: Billy Burke
Subject: Billy Burke, head coach, Niagara IceDogs.
What would you be doing at work now if the pandemic hadn’t hit? We would have just had our Rookie Orientation Day. We invite all of our most recent draft picks to St Catharines for a barbecue and to tour the city, visit Governor Simcoe Secondary School and the Meridian Centre. It’s a great day for the new players and their families to meet many people within the organization and to get comfortable with the team.
What are you doing now? I have been fortunate to be spending a lot of time with my wife, our two young boys and our two dogs! Hockey related, I am currently reading Scotty Bowman’s book and I have been watching all of the NHLCA (National Hockey League Coaching Association) coaching webinars which have been incredibly interesting and informative. I’ve also been able to do my normal off season work, like going over NHL games and creating presentations of different systems and situations that we can show our players in training camp.
What is the biggest obstacle to doing your job during the pandemic? Biggest obstacle for sure is not being able to meet with people face to face.
What do you miss the most about the pre-pandemic world of the Ontario Hockey League? Being at the rink every day. Even in the off-season, there are always people in the office or in the gym working out. I miss that routine.
What do you miss the least about the pre-pandemic world of the Ontario Hockey League? Long road trips in the middle of winter!
What is the biggest thing wrong with junior hockey that you can reveal without getting fired or demoted for your honesty? Haha, better not.
What would be one suggestion to make junior hockey better? In the OHL, I wouldn’t mind if goalies were allowed to be a fourth over-ager and you could play as many 16-year-olds as you like.
Has the pandemic changed how you will approach your work? We are very lucky that our training staff is excellent so we have always been very clean and sanitary but I think everyone will be much more conscious going forward.
What is the first thing you are going to do when life returns to normal? Take the kids to the park and go down the slide.
What daily activity do you miss the most? I miss not having the freedom to go out and do things as a family!
What guilty pleasure do you miss the most? A nice cold beer on a patio.
What is your favourite outfit to wear around the house if you are working from home? Zale IceDogs hoodie, basketball shorts and slippers.
What do you do to replace the time spent working with the kids? Spend a lot of time playing mini sticks and Fisher Price basketball with my two-year-old and going for family walks.
Are you mostly likely to be a hunk, chunk, drunk or Sasquatch when the pandemic ends? Chunky Sasquatch.
What is the worst habit you have picked up during the pandemic? Food delivery apps!
What is the best habit you have picked up during the pandemic? Patience!
What is something good about yourself you have discovered during the pandemic? How much I have enjoyed being a stay-at-home dad!
What is something bad about yourself you have discovered during the pandemic? Zero will power to chocolate.
In the weeks ahead, BPSN is hoping to get people in Niagara’s sporting community to share their COVID Closeups. If you want to volunteer, shoot Bill or Bernie a text. You have our numbers.
BPSN and the COVID-19 pandemic
Like all small businesses dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, BPSN is not sure what the business landscape will look like when things return to normal. Our website is financed primarily through advertising revenues and partnership agreements with many local sports and educational organizations in Niagara. Our goal is to continue providing our readers with the extensive local sports coverage you have come to expect from our site. Since our inception, we have written more than 2,800 stories on our local athletes and teams. Many of our readers have given us one-time donations or send us monthly contributions to help offset our costs. We would be eternally grateful if others would consider doing the same by using the Support Us button located on the right-hand side of our home page below the mosaic.
Thank you for your continued support.
Bill and Bernie.