Pat Quinn dead at 71

Pat Quinn, who spent more than four decades in the NHL as a player, head coach and general manager, has died in Vancouver after a long illness.

NHL player, coach, executive for 4-plus decades

Pat Quinn career highlights

9 years ago
Duration 1:40
A look back at his 4-decade career as player, coach and NHL executive

Pat Quinn, who spent more than four decades in the NHL as a player, head coach and general manager, has died at the age of 71.

The Hockey Hall of Fame and the Western Hockey League's Vancouver Giants on Monday confirmed that Quinn passed away Sunday night at Vancouver General Hospital after a long illness.

Quinn was a co-owner of the Giants. He was the Hall of Fame's chairman of the board as well as a longtime member of its selection committee, but was unable to attend the annual induction ceremony earlier this month.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Pat Quinn”, said Jim Gregory, vice-chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame, in a statement. "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 [Quinn's wife] Sandra and all of Pat's family and friends at this extremely difficult time." 

Born in Hamilton, Ont., Quinn played parts of nine NHL seasons as a defenceman with Toronto, Vancouver and Atlanta. "The Big Irishman" scored only 18 goals but was recognized immediately for his imposing size and toughness. Shortly after being called up to the Maple Leafs, Quinn delivered a brutal hit on Boston star Bobby Orr in a 1969 playoff game.

After an ankle injury helped end his playing career following the 1976-77 season, Quinn moved behind the bench and took over as the Philadelphia Flyers' head coach to finish the 1978-79 campaign. He would coach in 20 NHL seasons with five different teams, including stops in Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto and, most recently, a one-season stint with Edmonton in 2009-10.

Quinn twice won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's top coach. The first came in 1979-80, his first full season on the job, after the Flyers fashioned a record 35-game unbeaten streak that is unlikely to be broken now that shootouts are used to settle tied games. The Flyers also reached the Stanley Cup final that year.

His second coach of the year award came after the 1991-92 season with Vancouver. Two years later he guided the Canucks to within one victory of the Stanley Cup before they fell to the New York Rangers in Game 7 of the final.

Quinn also served as the general manger of the Canucks and the Maple Leafs.

“We have lost a great man. It's a sad day for hockey and for everyone who loves our game," said Canucks president Trevor Linden, who played for Quinn on the '94 Cup final team and added in a statement that "I wouldn't be the person I am today if it weren't for Pat. He was a great leader and always a teacher."

In addition to his NHL jobs, Quinn was the head coach of the Canadian team that won the Olympic men's title in 2002 in Salt Lake City, ending a 50-year gold-medal drought. He was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame as a builder earlier this year.

Quinn also guided Canada to the world junior championship in 2009 in Ottawa, where his team won all six of its games.

“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."