Pat Quinn – Anything but Retiring
At age 65, Pat Quinn is not quite ready to sit on his rocker in his newly-built West Vancouver home. The former Vancouver Canucks coach is healthy and happy, but far from content.
“This game has been very good to me but I still have the drive and desire,” says Quinn. “I definitely want to coach in the National Hockey League again and you bet I want to win a cup.”
Based on his hockey resume, Quinn deserves another opportunity.
After a 10-year playing career in the NHL, he stepped behind the bench to coach the Philadelphia Flyers in 1979. Quinn subsequently went on to coach the Los Angeles Kings, the Vancouver Canucks, and most recently, the Toronto Maple Leafs. As a head coach, Quinn has earned 616 career victories, making him the sixth “winningest” coach in the history of the National Hockey League. He has twice been awarded the Jack Adams trophy for NHL Coach of the Year and has been selected to coach in the All-Star game four times. Quinn has also, on two separate occasions, advanced his teams to the Stanley Cup Finals.
In addition to his multiple NHL successes, Coach Quinn did something in 2002 that no Canadian had done in 50 years—he guided Canada’s men’s hockey team to a Gold Medal victory at the Winter Olympics.
Despite his achievements, Quinn has not worked in the NHL since he was let go by the Toronto Maple Leafs in April of 2006. Since he was fired, NHL teams have collectively changed head coaches 19 times, each time opting not to use the services of Pat Quinn.
Some of Quinn’s detractors have suggested that the game of hockey has passed him by—a notion that he is unwilling to accept.
“If you look at other sports such as baseball and football they have people older than me who are coaching,” Quinn says. “Hockey is the only one where it seems like when you get older they want to phase you out. I’m a student of the game. I’ve always felt like I was at the leading edge of how we play hockey and how we treat the players. Age is just not relevant.”
While NHL teams may think Quinn is too old to coach players who are in their twenties and thirties, Hockey Canada has entrusted him to coach our country’s top teenage prospects. Earlier this year Quinn led Canada’s under-18 team to a gold medal; in December he will coach our national junior team at the World Championships in Ottawa.
“I think that success (at the under-18 tournament) proves that I’m not too old to coach,” says Quinn. “Those who are saying that I am too old should come meet me at the gym,” he quips.
After nearly five decades in the game of hockey, Quinn wants one more chance to have his name engraved on Lord Stanley’s Cup.
It seems that this fiery old Irishman has some unfinished business.
PAT QUINN – UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
FAVOURITE BOOK: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
FAVOURITE TV SHOW: 24
FAVOURITE MUSIC ARTIST: Louis Armstrong
FAVOURITE MOVIE: A Shot in the Dark
HOBBIES: Golf, reading, Sudoku
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Gold Medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics
CAREER REGRET: Not winning the Gold Medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin