After spending the past two years as head trainer at St. Joseph’s College in Standish, Rick Burrill is leaving for a National Hockey League job.

Earlier this month the Anaheim Ducks hired Burrill, who grew up in Freeport, as their assistant trainer.

“Let’s face it, it’s the NHL,” he said. “The stakes are pretty high but the rewards are pretty high, too.”

Burrill, who turned 50 last month, is scheduled to report Sept. 4 to prepare for training camp, which opens Sept. 17 in Anaheim, Calif.

“I guess there is still some gas left in my tank and I guess a willingness to put up with that kind of schedule,” he said.

Burrill, who spent two seasons as the Portland Pirates’ trainer before going to work at St. Joseph’s in 2008, previously spent 10 years in southern California as a trainer, including seven seasons as the assistant trainer for the Los Angeles Kings.

“I like to travel and I’ll have fun seeing those old haunts,” he said.

“But mostly it’s the people I’ll be around, being around the competitive nature of that beast.”

In 2007, following his first season with the Pirates, Burrill was with the Ducks during their playoff run to the Stanley Cup.

“You all try to pull together to get through a long season to ultimately attain the prize at the end,” he said. “There’s a lot of ups and downs, a lot of heartache, and a lot of joy when you win.”

Burrill said he will miss being at St. Joseph’s.

“This will be a bittersweet change for me because I love St. Joe’s,” he said. “They are a class act. They try to achieve a very high level of not only competition, but class and sportsmanship.

“Those kids have just as much a competitive nature as any professional player I’ve been around. They want to win. They want to succeed.

“They want to do the best they can, and be the best they can be, and I’m glad I had a couple of years of helping them along that road.”

Burrill, who lives in Pownal, had a big impact during his two years at St. Joseph’s.

“We were really lucky to have him,” said Athletic Director Brian Curtin.

“He really did wonders for our athletic department in the two years he was here. He set a high bar of quality and professional care.”

Before arriving at St. Joseph’s, a Division III school, Burrill spent 15 years as a pro hockey trainer.

“From someone coming from that kind of background to an institution like ours brings a kind of calming sense of control into our training room, and that was quite evident to our student-athletes,” Curtin said. “We’ll miss him. But we’re happy for him because it sounds like a great situation.”

Curtin is looking for a replacement for Burrill.

He intends to name a new head trainer by the start of the fall sports season.

 

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: [email protected]