John Brian Patrick Quinn is a Canadian ice hockey player, ice hockey coach and sports administrator. Quinn, who played almost a decade as a defender in the NHL, is known primarily as a coach. In this capacity, he twice led his teams to the Stanley Cup final, twice won the Jack Adams Prize for Best NHL Coach, and won gold medals at the Salt Lake City Olympic Games with the Canadian team. Officer of the Order of Canada, member of the Hockey Hall of Fame (since 2016, posthumously).
Pat Quinn, a native of the Ontarian city of Hamilton, began regular hockey performances in 1958 with the local amateur team, the Hamilton Tiger Cubs, earning a reputation as a tough, fight-free defender in two years. At the end of this period, as a socializing athlete, he received a scholarship to study at Michigan Technological University, but his transition to student hockey did not take place: it was at this time that the National Collegiate Sports Association (NCAA) banned athletes with professional contracts from participating in university teams, and the rights to Quinn had already been acquired by the Detroit Red Wings club. As a result, Quinn went instead of Michigan to Alberta, where he spent a season in the Edmonton Oil Kings youth team, winning the prestigious Memorial Cup with it.
After completing his youth career, Quinn signed a contract with the Eastern Hockey League club “Knoxville Knights” and until 1968 played in various teams of minor professional leagues in North America, including becoming the champion of the Central Hockey League in the 1967 season with the Tulsa Oilers club / 1968. After that, he was invited to the Toronto Maple Leafs NHL team, which by this time had received rights to him, which had previously passed from Detroit to the Montreal Canadiens, and from there to the St. Louis Blues. During his two seasons at Toronto, Quinn was remembered by the public mainly for his extremely tough power trick in the 1969 playoffs against the Boston Bruins. The move was held against Bruins leader Bobby Orr, who was carried off the ice unconscious, and avid fans of the Boston club still blame Quinn for Orr’s career waning. Quinn received five minutes of penalty time for this technique, but he himself was convinced for the rest of his life that there was no violation of the rules. Orr and Quinn subsequently became friends.
In 1970, as part of the NHL expansion draft, Quinn moved to the Vancouver Canucks, and from there in 1972, as part of a new expansion draft, to the Atlanta Flames, where he spent the rest of his playing career until 1977, breaking through three times with a new team in the Stanley Cup playoffs. At Atlanta, Quinn was considered the cornerstone of defense, but offensively, like in previous clubs, he never excelled, having scored only 18 goals and made 131 assists in 606 NHL games. The early end of his career was associated with a serious ankle injury he received in his free time.
The premature end of his playing career made Quinn start looking for a new profession. He earned his degree in economics from York University in Toronto in 1972 and was considering pursuing a law degree, but the university deadline had already passed and Quinn eventually agreed to an offer from the Philadelphia Flyers to take over as assistant trainer. Midway through the season, he was sent to coach the Maine Mariners, the Flyers farm club, and returned to Philadelphia the following year as head coach. In this post, he had two successful seasons, ending them with Philadelphia in first and second places in the Campbell conference, respectively. Under Quinn’s leadership, the Flyers had a record-breaking 35-wins streak in NHL history, reaching the 1979/1980 Stanley Cup Final, and he himself won the NHL’s Jack Adams Prize for Best NHL Coach at the end of the season. These successes allowed Quinn to sign a five-year contract with the Flyers in 1981. To the surprise of Philadelphia fans, the team fired Quinn in the second year of their new contract, but the contract remained in effect, and Quinn ended up spending the rest of the agreed time studying law at the Flyers’ expense. He received his law degree from Widener University (Wilmington, Delaware).
Two years later, Quinn became the head coach of the Los Angeles Kings NHL club. In Los Angeles, he spent a little over two years, once breaking through with the team in the playoffs. The Kings period, however, ended in a scandal when it was revealed that Quinn had unbeknownst to the club negotiated a move to the presidency and general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, receiving a $ 100,000 bonus from his new team. The contract with the Canucks, effective June 1, 1987, was signed in December 1986, when Quinn’s contract with the Kings was still in effect. NHL President John Ziegler called such a conflict of interest unacceptable and decided to ban Quinn from coaching until the 1990/1991 season. The Canucks were fined $ 310,000 and the Kings $ 130,000 for failing to publicize Quinn’s actions immediately.
Until the 1990/1991 season, Quinn, deprived of the opportunity to coach, served as general manager in Vancouver, but in 1991 he took over as head coach. In four seasons with the Canucks, he led the bottom-of-the-line squad to the 1993/1994 Stanley Cup final, which it lost to the New York Rangers in their seventh game at Madison Square Garden. At the end of the 1991/1992 season, he also received his second Jack Adams Prize. After 1994, Quinn returned to administrative duties, which he held until November 1997, when he was fired by the new Canucks owner, John McCaw. Quinn’s firing was part of a massive transformation in a team whose problems included weak defenses and expensive contracts with strikers Bure, Mogilny and Messier, and which was in last place in the conference when the general manager was fired.
In the 1998/1999 season, Pat Quinn was recruited to coach the Toronto Maple Leafs, which had struggled offensively in the previous few years. In his first year with his youth team, Quinn scored a record 45 regular season victories for the Maple Leafs and made it to the Eastern Conference Finals. With Quinn, the Maple Leafs have made the playoffs for six straight seasons. In 2002, Quinn was named head coach of the Canadian national team and led her to the gold medals at the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. This victory marked the end of a 50-year period in which the Canadian team never became an Olympic champion. Two years later, still in the rank of head coach of the Maple Leafs, Quinn again led the Canadian national team – now at the 2004 World Cup – and again won the championship title with her. For the third time, he was appointed head coach of the national team at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, but at that his succession with the national team was interrupted: the Canadians lost in the quarterfinals. A few months later, Quinn, who had not made the playoffs with the Maple Leafs for the second straight season, was fired from the Toronto side.
Despite the failure in Turin, in December 2006, Quinn again became the head coach of the Canadian national team, now at the Spengler Cup, reached the final with her, but there he lost to the ice owners – the Davos club. After that, for several years he achieved significant success in youth hockey. First, in 2007, the Vancouver Giants youth team, co-owned by Quinn, won the first ever Memorial Cup. In 2008, Quinn was assigned to lead the junior (under 18) team of Canada, and he won the junior world championship with her after a crushing final victory over team Russia. The following year, the country’s youth team was entrusted with the care of Quinn, with which he also won medals of the highest dignity at the World Youth Championships, held in Ottawa. It was the last Canadian U-21 Championship title before a six-year hiatus that ended only in 2015. Following these successes, Quinn was named head coach of the Edmonton Oilers, but was sacked after a bad season in which the team finished in last place.
In 2012, Pat Quinn was promoted to officer of the Order of Canada. In the last years of his life, he actively participated in the work of the Hockey Hall of Fame, playing a key role in the commission for the selection of new laureates. In August 2013, Quinn took over the Hockey Hall of Fame. He passed away on November 23, 2014 in Vancouver after a long illness at the age of 71.
In 2016, Pat Quinn’s name was posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. In February 2017, a monument to Quinn was unveiled on the street that bears his name in Vancouver, next to Rogers Arena, home to the Vancouver Canucks. The statue by Norm Williams depicts the coach as he was in 1994 when he took Vancouver to the Stanley Cup Final.
Achievements and titles
- 1963 – Memorial Cup
- 1968 – Central Hockey League champion
- 1980, 1994 – Stanley Cup finalist
- 1980, 1992 – Jack Adams Prize
- 2002 – Olympic champion
- 2004 – World Cup Winner
- 2008 – Junior World Championship Winner
- 2009 – World Youth Championship Winner
- 2012 – Officer of the Order of Canada
- 2014 – Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame Member