Yesterday, the hockey world woke to news that it had lost one of its greats.
Pat Quinn, 71, passed away at Vancouver General Hospital on Sunday night following a lengthy illness, announced by the Vancouver Giants early Monday morning. Quinn was currently serving as co-owner of the Vancouver-based WHL team.
“Words cannot express the pain we all feel today for the Quinn family,” said majority owner Ron Toigo in a statement releases by the Giants this morning. “Pat was an inspiration to all of us. He always said that respect was something that should be earned, not given, and the respect that he garnered throughout the hockey world speaks for itself. He will be sorely missed.”
Quinn indisputably left his mark on hockey. After a career on the ice spanning nine seasons, Quinn went on to coach an array of top NHL teams including the Philadelphia Flyers, LA Kings, Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs and most recently, the Edmonton Oilers (2009-10). Quinn steered teams to a total of 15 playoff appearances and famously led Team Canada to gold medal victory in Salt Lake City in 2002 following a 50-year drought for the men’s national team. Quinn also enjoyed international coaching success at the junior level, claiming gold at both the 2008 Under-18 World Championship and the 2009 World Juniors. Additionally, he secured the Jack Adams award on two separate occasions, first with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1980 and again with the Canucks in 1992.
To say Quinn was widely respected in the league is an understatement, and this was clearly demonstrated yesterday as tributes poured in from throughout the hockey community. Coaches, players and public figures offered their condolences; Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper also expressed his grief over the loss of one of hockey’s greats.
The Vancouver Canucks held a press conference today in tribute to Quinn’s passing. The Hamilton, ON native was instrumental in the rebuild of the Canucks franchise, leading the team to the Stanley Cup Finals in the 1993-94 season. Trevor Linden, now President of Hockey Operations for the Vancouver Canucks, served as an integral part of 1993-94 roster, arguably viewing Quinn as a mentor and figure to aspire to.
“We have lost a great man,” said Linden in a statement released by the Vancouver Canucks today. “It’s a sad day for hockey and for everyone who loves our game. On this difficult day I am thinking about Pat, his family and his friends, and how much he will be missed.”
Linden continued, “I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for Pat. He was a great leader and always a teacher. He taught me how to be a professional on and off the ice. He taught me how to play hockey the right way, how to win, and about the importance of respect and loyalty.”
“Pat’s impact on our city has been immeasurable. He was responsible for bringing hockey to the forefront in Vancouver,” said Linden. “He brought the pride back to the Canucks and today his fingerprints and impact are still felt within this organization.”
Francesco Aquilini, Chairman of Canucks Sports & Entertainment and Governor for the NHL, added “I’ll always remember Pat as a great leader. He built the Canucks teams that I cheered for as a fan and created a new generation of fans in our province. None of us will ever forget the Stanley Cup run in 1994 or how Pat led Canada to our first men’s Olympic hockey gold in 50 years. I feel fortunate to have known Pat and I will miss him.”
A Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, Quinn was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2012.
Pat Quinn’s impact on the beautiful game will forever be remembered and treasured, particularly here in Vancouver. He will be greatly missed.