Pat Quinn told his family whenever Hockey Canada called he'd do whatever he could, even if it meant carrying sticks. During his career in the sport, Quinn led Canada to a gold medal at the 2002 Olympics and 2009 world juniors.
Quinn on Tuesday was posthumously honoured for his contributions by being named to the 2015 class of the Order of Hockey in Canada, along with longtime NHL executive Jim Gregory and 1972 Summit Series star Serge Savard.
"They're just so symbolic of the game," Hockey Canada president and CEO Tom Renney said. "They're just three great men that have not just left a legacy on the ice but off the ice as well with the people in their lives they've touched. It speaks volumes again to the fabric of our country through the game of hockey."
Quinn is the first to be honoured after his death since the Order of Hockey in Canada began being awarded in 2012. Renney said it was only possible because Quinn was nominated before his death in November.
'There's only one thing he loved more than hockey and that was his family.' - Kalli Quinn on her father, the late Pat Quinn
Winning gold at the Olympics and world junior championship and the 2004 World Cup of Hockey made it an easy decision, especially when combined with Quinn's accomplishments as an NHL coach and executive. His daughter, Kalli, accepted the honour on behalf of her father.
"Hockey is what he loved," Kalli Quinn said on a conference call. "There's only one thing he loved more than hockey and that was his family. We're very proud of this and very humbled, as well."
Gregory, who worked with Quinn and coached Savard at one all-star game, won three Memorial Cups as a general manager or coach, spent more than two decades with the Maple Leafs and has been with the NHL in some capacity since 1979. Gregory, a longtime chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee, was inducted in 2007.
"My son was asked when he was in Grade 4 by the teacher, he said, 'Does your dad work?' He said, 'No, he's in hockey,"' Gregory said. "That's how I feel about what I do."
Savard spent 14 seasons and won the Stanley Cup eight times with the Montreal Canadiens as a player, twice more as a general manager and played in the 1972 Summit Series and 1976 Canada Cup. Canada went 4-0-1 in the games Savard played against the Soviet Union in the 1972.
"I've been on a winning team with the Montreal Canadiens, but my best souvenir in hockey is no doubt the Team Canada '72," Savard said. "That's something that I will cherish all my life."
Order of Hockey in Canada honourees
- Jean Beliveau (2012)
- Cassie Campbell-Pascall (2012)
- Wayne Gretzky (2012)
- Gordie Howe (2012)
- Gordon Renwick (2012)
- Paul Henderson (2013)
- Dave King (2013)
- Mark Messier (2013)
- Clare Drake (2014)
- France St. Louis (2014)
- Steve Yzerman (2014)
- Jim Gregory (2015)
- Pat Quinn (2015)
- Serge Savard (2015)