Pat Quinn, longtime NHL head coach and executive, dead at 71

Pat Quinn, longtime NHL head coach and executive, dead at 71

After learning the news of Viktor Tikhonov’s passing, the hockey world took another hit Monday when it was announced that former NHL head coach and executive Pat Quinn passed away after a lengthy illness.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Pat Quinn”, said Jim Gregory, Vice-Chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame. "Pat is one of hockey's most respected individuals whose lifetime involvement as a player, coach and executive has made an indelible mark on the game, and our thoughts and prayers are with Sandra and all of Pat's family and friends at this extremely difficult time."

"Words cannot express the pain we all feel today for the Quinn family," said Ron Toigo, majority owner of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, where Quinn was a co-owner.. "Pat was an inspiration to all of us. He always said that respect was something that should be earned, not given, and the respect that he garnered throughout the hockey world speaks for itself. He will be sorely missed."

“Whether he was playing for a team, coaching a team or building one, Pat Quinn was thoughtful, passionate and committed to success," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. "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 the Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Edmonton Oilers, and is fifth all-time in the NHL in wins with 684. He reached the Stanley Cup Final twice, making appearances with the Flyers in 1980 and the Canucks in 1994. He won the Jack Adams Award in 1980 and 1982; an Olympic gold medal with Team Canada in 2002 (Canada’s first in 50 years); IIHF U18 and U20 gold in 2008 and 2009, respectively; and the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.

Quinn spent 20 years as an NHL coach, missing the playoffs only five times, two of which were because he was either fired or resigned during the season. He was also a player, lacing up the skates for 606 NHL games between the Maple Leafs, Canucks and Atlanta Flames.

Canucks and Maple Leafs fans will remember him the greatest for what he did to boost the fortunes of those franchises while he was a head coach and general manager.

In Vancouver, he drafted Trevor Linden and Pavel Bure, and dealt for Markus Naslund, turning them into annual contenders. In Toronto, the Maple Leafs eclipsed 100 points three times under him, reaching the conference final twice. They have only reached the playoffs once since Quinn left.

Rest in peace, Pat Quinn.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!