This year we have experienced great loss of some very remarkable and well-known idols: Robin Williams, Joan Rivers, Maya Angelou, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Shirley Temple and Mickey Rooney to name a few, but on November 23, 2014, we lost one of our greatest Canadian idols.
He wasn’t an actor, a comedian or a child star, he was the coach of my favourite hockey team and of my all-time favourite players: Linden, Bure, Courtnall, Babych, McLean, Ronning, Odjick, Gelinas, Adams, etc. Pat Quinn, did not only have a huge impact on the hockey world, from the players, to team organizations, to staff and the community, he also made an impact with me. I have never met him, I never seen him in a coaching session, I have never really heard many speak about his personality or his character until this week, but I always looked up to him. I would love to listen to what he would say about his team and the sport and I had always wished I had a coach like him in my life.
When I listen to all who spoke of “The Big Irishman”, his presence was undoubtedly his strongest feature, next to how much he cared for people and his family. Perhaps this is what I naturally took from the TV exposure I had of him.
It seems odd to me, when I reflect now, that I looked up to someone with so much respect without really knowing him at all. I mostly saw him behind a bench, or sitting watching the game from the manager’s box, or having short interviews leading or following games. I felt I knew him, through his players and how they played. He didn’t need to say much; the team truly represented the type of man he was.
Professionally, he had made incredible achievements:
- 1st Super Boss in the industry; Coach, GM & President of the Vancouver Canucks
- 2 Jack Adam Awards
- 2002 Olympic Gold (first one in 50 years for Canada)
- Memorial cup as a player and later in 2007 as a co-owner of the Vancouver Giants
- Lead the Leafs to 2 Eastern conference finals
- Lead Vancouver to the 1994 Stanley cup finals
- 35 game winning streak with the Philadelphia Flyers, a record that may never be beat
- 2009 World Junior Cup Champions
- Order of Canada
- 2004 World Cup of Hockey
And there are many, many more. It’s with disbelief, that considering all his accomplishments and impact on the sport and development of players, Pat Quinn has not been named to the Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame. He will be nominated, as promised by Tommy Larscheid in his Global interview (featured in minutes 11:00-19:00 in the above video), and it is anticipated that he will be inducted next year. It’s wonderful and much overdue, but somewhat of a heartbreak that he won’t be able to enjoy the recognition and the achievement. It’s like the 1994 Stanley Cup Final Game 7 against the NY Rangers all over again. You do all the work to get there; you just don’t get to see your name on the trophy. One goal shy in 1994. One year shy in 2014.
We have lost dearly here in the city of Vancouver. But, I can honestly say I feel comforted that Trevor Linden has taken the place of President of the Vancouver Canucks. It feels like the passing of the torch, one era has taught all that they know so that a new generation can evolve….and when we win that Stanley Cup under Linden’s leadership, a great part of that will be due, and owed, to the truly remarkable Pat Quinn.
Follow your Dreams
Listen to your Heart
And obey your Passion
– Pat Quinn