NHL

Pat Quinn: Hockey community mourns his death

Pat Quinn is being remembered by friends and colleagues as an inspirational leader who left his mark on hockey.

Players, coaches remember inspirational leader

Former NHL hockey coach Pat Quinn, left, shares a moment with with Governor General David Johnston after being awarded the rank of Officer in the Order of Canada in 2012. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Pat Quinn is being remembered by friends and colleagues as an inspirational leader who left his mark on hockey.

The former NHL player, coach and executive died Sunday night at age of 71 after a lengthy illness.

"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.

"The National Hockey League, one of the many organizations to benefit from his devoted service, sends heartfelt condolences to Pat's loved ones and his many friends around the hockey world."

Quinn coached five NHL teams in his 20-year coaching career, and also served as general manager with Vancouver and Toronto. While he never won a Stanley Cup, his teams made the playoffs 15 times. He reached the Stanley Cup final twice, with Philadelphia (1979-90) and Vancouver (1993-94).

"We have lost a great man. It's a sad day for hockey and for everyone who loves our game," said Canucks president of hockey operations Trevor Linden in a statement. Linden was the captain of the 1993-94 Canucks team that lost the Cup final in seven games to the New York Rangers. "On this difficult day I am thinking about Pat, his family and his friends, and how much he will be missed.

"I wouldn't be the person I am today if it weren't for Pat. He was a great leader and always a teacher. He taught me how to be a professional on and off the ice. He taught me how to play hockey the right way, how to win, and about the importance of respect and loyalty.

"Pat's impact on our city has been immeasurable. He was responsible for bringing hockey to the forefront in Vancouver. He brought the pride back to the Canucks and today his finger prints and impact are still felt within this organization."

His crowning achievement arguably came at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, where he led Canada to its first gold medal in 50 years.

While in Salt Lake City, Quinn was also a staunch supporter of Canada's women's team.

Hayley Wickenheiser said she remembers Quinn's reaction on the bench when Canadian women won gold.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper also took time to remember Quinn.

Longest coaching stint with Leafs

Quinn's longest stint as a coach was in Toronto, where he led the team to six straight playoff appearances from 1998-99 to 2003-04.

"This is a tremendous loss for the hockey community," Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said in a statement. "Pat will be revered not only for his great accomplishments in sport but also for his courage and strength in face of his illness, and his dedication to family."

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