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article imagePat Quinn, NHL great, dies at 71 in Vancouver

By Marcus Hondro     Nov 24, 2014 in Sports
Pat Quinn, the Big Irishman, one of the great players, great coaches, managers and storytellers of the NHL, has died at 71. Mr. Quinn passed away at Vancouver General Hospital on Sunday night after a lengthy illness.
Pat Quinn: unofficial hockey ambassador
One of the game's unofficial ambassadors, Pat Quinn spent six decades in hockey as a player, coach and a general manager. He was among the game's and the NHL's most liked personalities.
Quinn never won a Stanley Cup — his only trips to the finals came as coach of the Philadelphia Flyers (1980, lost to the Islanders in six) and the Vancouver Canucks (1994, lost in seven to the Rangers) - but he won the respect and admiration of everyone he worked with.
“Whether he was playing for a team, coaching a team or building one, Pat Quinn was thoughtful, passionate and committed to success," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "Pat’s contributions to hockey, at every level, reflected the skills he possessed and the great respect with which he treated the sport."
Early years in hockey
Quinn was born in Hamilton and played his early hockey there. He played in the OHA and spent one season, 1963, in the old Central Alberta Hockey League with the Edmonton Oil Kings. He and then-teammate Glen Sather helped the team to its first Memorial Cup, the only team to come out of the CAHL and win it.
As a player, Quinn, who somehow managed an economics degree and a law degree, each gained during his years in the NHL, was a bruising, if somewhat slow-footed, defenceman who played two seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, two with the Vancouver Canucks and five with the Atlanta Flames (now in Calgary).
He finished his playing career with 606 NHL regular-season games, 18 goals and 113 assists for 131 points (he had a 32 point season in 1973-74 with Atlanta). He played in just 11 postseason games, recording one assist. Quinn did better with penalty numbers, spending 950 minutes in the box.
Pat Quinn: NHL coaching and beyond
Quinn was a head coach for four seasons in Philadelphia, three in Los Angeles with the Kings, three with the Canucks, seven with the Leafs and one season as coach of the Edmonton Oilers. He was also a general manager in Vancouver and Toronto. Quinn was the mastermind that brought Pavel Bure to the NHL and in 1988 may have fashioned the Canucks greatest moment when he selected current team president, Trevor Linden, in the junior draft.
Along with winning a Memorial Cup as a player, the father of two daughters (and grandfather to three) won another Memorial Cup as a minority owner with the Vancouver Giants in 2007. He also won Olympic gold as coach of Team Canada in 2002, a World Cup gold with Team Canada two years later, and he coached Canada's IIHF U18 gold medal winning team in 2008 and the gold medal winning team at the 2009 World Junior Championships.
He won the Jack Adams trophy as NHL coach of the year in 1980 (the Flyers) and 1992 (the Canucks).
Accolades for Pat Quinn
Dozens of tributes have been offered to the popular hockey-man. Hockey writer Steve Simmons tweeted about Quinn that "Pat Quinn was a fascinating contradiction: No one hated doing interviews more than he did and yet no one did them better."
Hockey players past and present who have tweeted condolences include Martin Brodeur, John Tavares, Hayley Wickenheiser, Kevin Bieska, Alex Auld, Brendan Gallagher, Theo Fleury and Garry Valk.
Quinn was a member of the committee that selected Hockey Hall of Fame inductees, and was for a time chairman of the Hall, and Jim Gregory of the Hockey Hall of Fame issued a statement.
"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Pat Quinn," he said. "Pat is one of hockey's most respected individuals whose lifetime involvement as a player, coach and executive has made an indelible mark on the game, and our thoughts and prayers are with Sandra (Quinn's wife) and all of Pat's family and friends at this extremely difficult time."
Made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2012, the late, and very great, Pat Quinn has an arena, a pool and a street named after him in his hometown of Hamilton.
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