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A Tribute to Pat Quinn (1943-2014)

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The hockey world lost one of its best people on Sunday night, Pat Quinn.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Pat Quinn, who spent over forty years in the NHL as a player, coach, and general manager, passed away on Sunday night at the age of 71.  His career was nothing short of amazing.

Pat "The Big Irishman" Quinn was a defenseman and played parts of nine NHL seasons. In total, he played in 617 games, tallying 132 points and 971 penalties. He played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Vancouver Canucks, and the Atlanta Flames.  He retired from playing in 1977 after injuring his ankle. In the same year, he began his coaching career.

As a coach, Quinn stood behind the bench for 20 seasons with five different teams: Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto, and Edmonton. He coached in 1494 NHL games in total, receiving two Jack Adams awards (1979-80 with the Flyers and 1991-1992 with the Canucks) and reaching the Stanley Cup Finals twice (1980 with the Flyers, 1994 with the Canucks).  Quinn was the coach for the 2002 Canadian Men's gold-medal winning hockey team in Salt Lake City, something Canada hadn't won in 50 years. He was also the coach of the 2009 Canadian world junior team and won the championship with them.

Over a contract dispute with LA, Quinn was banned from coaching from 1987-1991. Because of the ban, Quinn took on the general manager position with the Vancouver Canucks in 1987 and stay in that position until 1997 (he became a dual-role coach/GM in 1991 after the ban was lifted). With Vancouver, Quinn drafted two cornerstones for the team: Trevor Linden in 1988 at 2nd overall and Pavel Bure in 1989 at 113th overall. He also traded for one of the best goaltenders in Canucks history, Kirk Maclean.  After being let go in 1997 by the Canucks new ownership group, Quinn became the Leafs GM/Coach from 1998-2003 until he was replaced by John Ferguson Jr. as GM, although Quinn still remained the coach until 2006.

As a Senators fan, I hated Pat Quinn's Leafs. I bet most of you did. They always managed to out-duel our beloved Senators and much of that was to the credit of Quinn's coaching ability. Quinn undoubtedly had the Senators number, especially in the playoffs, beating them in four different series in 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2004. Indeed, the Leafs teams in the early 2000s sure brought a lot of sorrow to my young hockey-loving self, but as much as I hated losing to the Leafs, I always liked Pat Quinn. I thought he was both a good coach and a good person. Today, Pat leaves his legacy behind with his wife Sandra, two daughters, three grandchildren, and with the entire hockey world. Rest in Peace, Pat.

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(video courtesy of Sportsnet)