Pat Quinn remembered as larger-than-life individual (with video)

 

 
 
 
 
Pat Quinn shakes hands with Stan Smyl as Trevor Linden, Cliff Ronning and Gino Odjick stand by prior to NHL Heritage Classic with Vancouver Canucks vs Ottawa Senators at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver on March 2, 2014.
 
 

Pat Quinn shakes hands with Stan Smyl as Trevor Linden, Cliff Ronning and Gino Odjick stand by prior to NHL Heritage Classic with Vancouver Canucks vs Ottawa Senators at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver on March 2, 2014.

Photograph by: Arlen Redekop, PNG

More on This Story

 

VANCOUVER — Pat Quinn preferred not to have many visitors during the several weeks he spent in hospital before passing away on Sunday evening following a lengthy illness.

But Trevor Linden and Kirk McLean weren’t going to take no for an answer. The two former players, who were such key members of the 1994 Vancouver Canucks team that Quinn guided to the Stanley Cup Finals, visited with their former coach and friend on Friday.

“Given how proud he was, he didn’t want anyone to see him in the condition he was in,” Linden, now the Canucks’ president of hockey operations, said Monday. “Finally, I just said to Kalli (Quinn’s daughter), ‘listen I have to go see him.’ Kirk and I went Friday and it was really a great visit. He didn’t look well, but he still had that stubborn Irishness about him. He still had that Pat Quinn fire and we had a nice visit. So I was really thankful to have that opportunity.”

“Gosh, we had an unbelievable talk,” added McLean. “We talked probably for a good 40 minutes or so before he got a little tired. As Trev said, he wasn’t well, you could see that. . .It was tough to see him in that situation, being such a big man, but he told some funny stories. You never expect anything like this to happen. You can maybe see it, you try to prepare for it, but when I woke up this morning and I got the news I was obviously quite taken aback and shocked and very sad.”

Linden, McLean, Stan Smyl and Quinn’s former Canucks teammate Orland Kurtenbach, all appeared at Rogers Arena on Monday to pay respects to man who served the Canucks as a player, coach, general manager and president.

“It is obviously a sad day for the organization, for hockey fans of the Vancouver Canucks,” Linden said. “Pat as a player, president, manager and a coach had a really profound impact on this organization on many levels -- on the ice, the involvement in the community. And I think his impact is still felt today as his fingerprints are still very much on this team. . . .He was a great man and he will certainly be missed.”

It was Quinn who drafted Linden second overall in 1988. Linden recalled how Quinn shaped his life on and off the ice.

"For me as a player, when Pat took over as coach, he was a teacher. He loved to teach and he made sense of the game. He made it make sense. He was a very proud individual, a tremendous leader and for me a real mentor. He really taught me the game. A lot of the lessons he taught me I still think about today. .
Quinn was a member of the original 1970-71 Canucks team. That team was captained by Kurtenbach, who said Quinn’s physical play and strong presence in the locker-room was a big part of the club’s early success.

“People that played know the significance of having a good hockey room and when Pat left we lost part of that,” Kurtenbach said.

Quinn was remembered as an intimidating presence, a larger-than-life individual who commanded respect, but also gave it to his players.

“He was a great man because he cared,” Linden said. “He loved his players and he cared about people.The outer exterior was gruff and tough, but he loved his players. I think people saw that, they saw the connection and passion he had for people. That’s why you can see how connected the fans of Vancouver are with him.”

McLean told a funny story about how players feared making Quinn angry. During a regular-season game in Winnipeg, the Canucks were playing miserably and after two periods Quinn came into the dressing room for a chat with the team.

“He came in and he always started off very soft-spoken in his speeches and then the blood started to boil and you could see it and guys were going, ‘oh no, here it comes,’” McLean said. “He got a little more heated and got really mad and at that time in the old Winnipeg Arena we used to put the Gatorade bins in the middle of the room so guys could get up and grab a drink. Well, he gave one that was full a forearm shiver and it went across the table and spilled. There was ice flying everywhere and everyone just stared at him and he walked out the door. Needless to say, we go out and win a hockey game after that.”

Jim Robson, the legendary voice of the Canucks, became a close friend of Quinn’s over the years and said Monday he should be in Hockey Hall of Fame.

“John Davidson is now the head of the selection committee,” Robson said. “I wrote to John last spring and said he should be seriously considered for the Hall of Fame. I don ‘t know exactly what the process is, but now of course he will go in, but it’s too late for him to enjoy the honour.

“But he certainly belongs there. He is No. 5 all-time in coaching wins, he won the Olympic gold medal, he won the world championship, world junior championship, the world under 18 championship. Any time he was asked or called upon he’d step up. He was loyal to his country and very patriotic. He did so much in hockey and had such an effect on a lot of people.”

Shortly after he was named president of hockey operations early last spring, Linden had Quinn added to the team’s Ring of Honour at Rogers Arena. Despite his failing health, Quinn was able to speak at length at what was an emotional ceremony last April 13.

“I think it was a real coming home for him last year,” Linden said. “I know how much special that night was for him and how hard it was for him to get prepared for that because he wasn’t well. But it was so fitting that he was honoured that way and certainly it meant a lot to him and his family.”

Quinn will be honoured again on Tuesday night, when the Canucks meet the New Jersey Devils at Rogers Arena.

“We’re going through that now,” Linden said when asked about the team’s plans. “Obviously it’s all happened pretty quickly. He was such an important part of our organization, so we’ll figure out the right way to honour him.”

bziemer@vancouversun.com

Twitter.com/bradziemer

 
 
 
Font:
 
 
 
 
Pat Quinn shakes hands with Stan Smyl as Trevor Linden, Cliff Ronning and Gino Odjick stand by prior to NHL Heritage Classic with Vancouver Canucks vs Ottawa Senators at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver on March 2, 2014.
 

Pat Quinn shakes hands with Stan Smyl as Trevor Linden, Cliff Ronning and Gino Odjick stand by prior to NHL Heritage Classic with Vancouver Canucks vs Ottawa Senators at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver on March 2, 2014.

Photograph by: Arlen Redekop, PNG

 
Pat Quinn shakes hands with Stan Smyl as Trevor Linden, Cliff Ronning and Gino Odjick stand by prior to NHL Heritage Classic with Vancouver Canucks vs Ottawa Senators at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver on March 2, 2014.
Pat Quinn, circa 1970: ‘Smiling graciously at one another at Exhibition Park are two of Vancouver’s sports, Pat Quinn of the Vancouver Canucks and Grangers Pride, one of the harness racing’s invitational pacers. Quinn had just finished jogging Grangers Pride, and he claimed later he’s interested in buying a standardbred he can train and race at Vancouver’s winter meet.’
Defenceman Pat Quinn in the 1970-71 NHL season with the expansion Vancouver Canucks.
Pat Quinn circa 1973 in the jersey of the Atlanta Flames, which he joined from the Vancouver Canucks.
March 15, 1989.  PAT QUINN and a ‘friend’ watch over Canucks in March 1989.
Blue-liner Pat Quinn (left) of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins superstar Bobby Orr hammer each other during an on-ice fight in a National Hockey League game at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens, circa 1969. In a separate incident in the spring of '69 during a playoff game at the Boston Gardens, Quinn's body check of Orr prompted a near riot.
Vancouver Canucks president and general manager Pat Quinn (left) admires team’s new jersey with NHL franchise’s first GM, Bud Poile, in September 1989.
Pat Quinn, Canucks GM, talks trades after 1997 trade deadline.
Vancouver Canuck 1st yr. Coach Tom Renney (left) and G.M Pat Quinn react to tough questioning by local media over the team's dissmal season and missing the playoffs for the first time since 1990.
Canucks GM Pat Quinn and new Vancouver Canuck Mark Messier at press conference.
1987 file photo of Pat Quinn former hockey player, coach, and manager.
The 1994 Vancouver Canucks, who went to the NHL's Stanley Cup final, are joined by their coach Pat Quinn on the red carpet prior to the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic at BC Place Stadium Sunday March 2, 2014 in Vancouver. The Vancouver Canucks lost to the Ottawa Senators, 4-2.
Mr Hockey Gordie Howe (left) and Pat Quinn give Marcel Dionne (right) a hard time as he signs an autograph before they go out onto the ice at the Coliseum for Howe's 80th birthday party.
November 1 1991. Canucks player Pavel Bure and Pat Quinn.
Rick Ley was 29-32-15 when was fired 76 games into 1996-96 season and replaced by Pat Quinn.
Pat Quinn hockey player, coach and manger (left) is invested as Officer to the Order of Canada by Governor General David Johnston at Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General, in Ottawa Friday November 23, 2012.
Pat Quinn watches the scrimmage at Oilers Rookie camp at Rexall Place. Quinn coaches the Oilers during the 2009-10 season.
 
 
 
 
 
 
We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report spam or abuse. We are using Facebook commenting. Visit our FAQ page for more information.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Your voice