After an outpouring of condolences from the hockey community following the passing of Pat Quinn, the Vancouver Canucks paid tribute to their former coach Tuesday night in Vancouver before the team faced the New Jersey Devils.
Despite the heavy rain on a seasonally dark November night in Vancouver, fans arrived at Rogers Arena early to pay their respects. Fans also had the opportunity to view the ‘Forever a Canuck’ display inside the arena, an area that is fully dedicated to Pat Quinn and displays photos, videos and other memories of Quinn’s time with the Canucks organization. Additionally, the Vancouver-based team unveiled the design of ‘PQ’ decals that players will wear on their helmets for the remainder of the season. The team also pledged to hold a larger ceremony at a future game this season to fully celebrate the life and legacy of their former head coach. The details will be announced at a later date.
Quinn, who laced up skates for the Canucks prior to his tenure behind the bench, was further honoured by way of a moments silence before the national anthems. After the moments silence, singer Mark Donnelly broke into an unaccompanied version of ‘Danny Boy’ as images of Quinn’s life and career were displayed on the jumbotron.
“I kind of got the frog in my throat on that one,” said Canuck favourite Chris Higgins, pictured above sporting the ‘PQ’ helmet decal. “It was a nice way to make the tribute to him. It hit close to home for me. I remember growing up, driving up to Toronto and Ottawa on these long trips from New York (for minor hockey) and my buddy’s dad would play the bagpipes for nine straight hours. We’d come out all fired up and still get kicked 6-1. Hearing Danny Boy kind of brought me back to that and how much fun I had playing hockey when I was younger.”
“A game against New Jersey on a Tuesday night, I thought after that ceremony, I thought we came out flying and played with a lot of emotion early in the game, mostly because of that,” added Kevin Bieksa, who hails from Quinn’s hometown of Hamilton, ON.
The Canucks went on to win the game 2-0, arguably one of the finest ways to honour Pat Quinn’s life and legacy.