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Brent Burns

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We all know Brent Burns and his having signed with the San Josè Sharks.  He's going to have a huge impact on ice (pardon the pun).  Not so his "zoo" or collection of reptiles, quite an assortment numbering 150..... 


SAN JOSE, CALIF.—Brent Burns, the San Jose Sharks’ prized new defenceman, is in town this week getting the lay of the land and looking for a place to rent.

But while the Burns family is coming to San Jose, the Burns Zoo will be staying behind in Minnesota.

“I don’t know how people would react with me moving into a rental house with 150 snakes,” he said.

The Sharks got more than just a top young defenceman in a draft-night deal with the Minnesota Wild. They got one of hockey’s more eclectic personalities.

A self-described “big kid,” the 26-year-old, shaggy-haired Burns has tattoos all over his 6-foot-5, 220-pound body. He’s also an animal lover who has a menagerie of dogs (two), exotic birds (three) and reptiles and snakes (number uncertain) at his rural home outside St. Paul, Minn.

“It’s probably a little higher than 150 right now because it’s mating season,” Burns said.

He could only laugh when asked why his personal jungle was lacking in lions, tigers and bears.

“I’ve always wanted a giraffe,” he said, “but my wife said no.”

Oh, my.

The Sharks gave up a king’s ransom to get Burns — Devin Setoguchi, top prospect Charlie Coyle and their first-round pick — because they believe Burns will be a difference-maker on the blue line.

Burns is coming off a breakthrough season. The offensive-minded defenceman scored 46 points (17 goals, 29 assists), had 133 hits and was a first-time All-Star. For his career, he has 183 points in 453 games.

Growing up about an hour outside of Toronto, Burns always loved going to zoos and had a soft spot for most creatures — just not the slithering sort. Then, about five years ago, he decided on a whim to buy some snakes to overcome that fear.

“It’s grown from there,” Burns said. “I just like handling them. They’re pretty amazing animals. I love feeding them and watching what they can do with their bodies.”

He has pythons that grow to about four feet in length and said he hasn’t been bitten by any of his fanged friends in about three years.

“Most of my snakes are pretty docile,” he added. “They’re a great pet for kids because there’s not all that much responsibility in taking care of them.”

Burns and wife Susan have a 15-month-old daughter named Peyton and a newborn son, Jagger. (Yes, as in Mick.) He wants his kids to be around the snakes enough so that as they get older, they don’t have the same terror of them as he once did.

This might be a good time to mention that the snakes and lizards are kept behind two locked doors in what was originally designed as a bomb shelter.

“Even if a lizard got out and somehow opened up 100 other cages, they can’t get out of the room,” Burns said.

Obviously, it takes an extraordinary wife to deal with so much wildlife.

“And she has to put up with me, too,” Burns said.

Burns always has marched to a different beat. Former Minnesota teammate Brian Rolston once compared the Burns brand of goofiness to Sharks captain Joe Thornton.

“They’re happy-go-lucky guys,” Rolston told the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 2007. “You can call them ditsy almost. It’s a good way to be in this sport, because a lot of times, you put too much pressure on yourself and it’s a detriment.”

It helps explain the tattoos. Burns has nine, and counting. He got his first at age 11 — a Canadian flag and hockey stick on his right shoulder. There’s a dragon on his left thigh and on his back is the word “Wild” surrounded by images of his animals.

“I was joking around that now I’m going to get shark gills on my neck, and my wife put the kibosh on that pretty quick,” he added.

The tattoo on his left shoulder has special meaning. Featuring a cross with a Canadian military helmet on top, it honours his late grandfather, who served in World War II. From him, Burns gained a love of history and a respect for people in the service. That’s why he bought an arena suite so armed-forces members and their families could attend Minnesota Wild home games.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan knows all about Burns’ game because he helped develop him in the Wild’s minor-league system. McLellan describes him as a “hybrid defenceman” who is both skilful with the puck and has some grit.

For now, though, the focus is on the coming season.

“I’m excited to be going to a great team in an awesome city,” Burns said. “We’ll see what happens this year. I haven’t thought much about it. I’m completely open to listening to what they say.”

As far as Burns can see, there’s only one downside to the trade.

“It’s going to be weird not being able to go downstairs and do all the snake stuff,” he said.


I love Brent Burns but euuuuuuuuuuuuwwwwwwwwwwww...... why'd it have to be snakes, dude?

What a weirdo.


--- Quote from: LittleHockeyFan on July 18, 2011, 12:01:55 PM ---I love Brent Burns but euuuuuuuuuuuuwwwwwwwwwwww...... why'd it have to be snakes, dude?

--- End quote ---

I am surprised you didn't know this about him lol

I am not sure where, but I have seen a show on TV about all his pets, it might have been MTV Cribs, it was pretty cool, but I agree with your ewwww comment.

I don't think I would be able to sleep at night in that house, knowing there were that many reptiles around  :o

oh, I did know. His younger brother Brad is one of my daughter's best friends. But usually they talk about Brent's *dogs* around me, not the slithery things. Brent has/had two gorgeous Huskies.....


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