Pat Quinn: Highs, lows and memorable moments

In more than four decades in the NHL as a player, head coach and general manager, Pat Quinn was involved in some memorable moments in hockey history.

Late NHL player, coach, GM part of hockey history

Pat Quinn, top centre, guided the Canadian men’s hockey team to its first Olympic gold medal in 50 years at the 2002 Salt Lake Games. (Shaun Best/Reuters)

As an NHL player, coach and general manager, Pat Quinn was involved in some memorable moments in hockey history.

Quinn, who died at the age of 71 on Sunday night in Vancouver, is being remembered as one of the game's icons.

Here’s a look at some of his career highlights:

The Hit

Quinn will forever be known as the man who delivered a crushing hit on Boston Bruins legend Bobby Orr.

The check occurred during the 1969 playoffs. Orr was skating along the boards with his head down when Quinn, a Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman, dropped the Boston great with a hit that rendered Orr unconscious. Naturally, a bench-clearing brawl ensued.

Quinn discussed the incident years later, claiming he led with his shoulder.

The Streak

As coach of the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1979-80 season, Quinn guided his team to a record 35-game unbeaten streak — still the longest in NHL history. For his effort, Quinn won the Jack Adams Award as the league’s top coach. However, the Flyers suffered a heart-breaking loss in the Stanley Cup final, highlighted by New York Islanders forward Bob Nystrom’s Stanley Cup-clinching goal in overtime of Game 6.

The Final

By the 1987-88 season, Quinn had moved on to became president and general manager of the Vancouver Canucks. He shifted to the bench in 1991, and with a powerful roster that included goaltender Kirk McLean, along with offensive dynamos Trevor Linden and Pavel Bure, Quinn coached the Canucks to the Stanley Cup final against the New York Rangers in 1994. The Canucks fought valiantly, erasing a 3-1 series lead to force a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden. But, like the 1980 final, his team fell short once again. Things turned ugly back in Vancouver as rioting engulfed the streets.

The Gold

There would no greater accomplishment for Quinn than when he led the Canadian men’s Olympic hockey team into the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games. With the weight of a 50-year gold medal drought hanging over the team, head coach Quinn, executive director Wayne Gretzky and captain Mario Lemieux, Canada got off to a horrific start, losing 5-2 to Sweden. But the composed and experienced squad rallied and beat the Americans in their own backyard in the gold medal game.

The kids

Often criticized for lacking patience with young players, Quinn was nevertheless appointed by Hockey Canada to coach the 2009 world junior team — one that included current NHLers John Tavares, Jordan Eberle and P.K. Subban. The semifinal game against the Russians looked dire before Eberle forced overtime after scoring with only 5.4 seconds left in regulation time. Eberle then netted the shootout winner and the Canadians would go on to win gold. It remains Canada’s last world junior title.


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