Pat Quinn, ‘the Big Irishman,’ dead at 71

Former Leafs coach and NHL player dies after battle with illness

The hockey world took a blow today with news that former Maple Leafs coach and NHL player, Pat Quinn, died at the age of 71.

In a statement from the Leafs president, Brendan Shanahan said, “This is a tremendous loss for the hockey community. 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.”

Quinn made his debut playing for the Leafs organization in 1968 and was the Leafs head coach from 1998 to 2006.

Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) Chairman Larry Tanenbaum also issued a statement.

“On behalf of the ownership, management, staff, and players of the Toronto Maple Leafs, we are all deeply saddened by the loss of Pat Quinn,” Tanenbaum said. “Pat was an associate and good friend to so many of us. We join hockey fans around the country in offering our thoughts and prayers to his wife, Sandra, and daughters Kalli and Val.”

Prime Minster Stephen Harper took to social media and expressed his condolences in a tweet.

Aside from his time spent in Toronto with the Leafs, Quinn also played for the Vancouver Canucks and the Atlanta Flames before they were relocated to Calgary in 1980. Since 1977, Quinn has coached the Philadelphia Flyers, the LA Kings, the Vancouver Canucks, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and most recently, the Edmonton Oilers. Quinn will be remembered not just for his hockey and coaching skills, but for his infamous hit on Bobby Orr in 1969 during a playoff game. 

Quinn was born Jan. 29, 1943 in Hamilton, Ontario.

Pat Quinn timeline

1943 – Born in Hamilton, Ontario

1958 – While attending St. Michael’s College School in Toronto, played two seasons for the Hamilton Tiger Cubs of the Ontario Hockey Association

1962 – Accepted a scholarship to Michigan Tech, but was ruled inelgible to play in the NCAA because his rights belonged to the Detroit Red Wings
– Played one season for Red Wings’ junior affiliate-Edmonton Oil Kings, where he won the Memorial Cup

1963 – Turned pro and bounced around various minor leagues for five seasons, including the Eastern Hockey League (Knoxville Knights), Central Professional Hockey League (Tula Oilers, Memphis Wings and Houston Apollos) and the Western Hockey League (Seattle Totems)

1968 – Signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs and notched two goals and seven assists in 40 games in his rookie season

1969 – In an April 2 10-0 playoff loss to the Boston Bruins, infamously laid out Bobby Orr with a thundering open-ice check that left Orr concussed and incited a bench-clearing brawl

1970 – After two seasons with the Leafs, claimed by the Vancouver Canucks in NHL Expansion Draft

1972 – After two seasons with the Canucks, claimed by the Atlanta Flames in NHL Expansion Draft and later named captain
– Graduates from York University with BA in economics

1977 – Retires from NHL with 18 goals and and 113 assists in 606 career games
– Named assistant coach of Philadelphia Flyers under Fred Shero

1978 – Takes over as head coach of Flyers after half-season as head coach of AHL-affiliate Maine Mariners

1980 – In first full season as coach, leads Flyers to a 35-game unbeaten run
– Flyers lose Stanley Cup final in six games to New York Islanders
– Claims Jack Adams Award given to NHL’s coach of the year

1981 – Signs five-year extension with Flyers

1982 – Fired by Flyers after only one season into new contract
– Enrolled in law school at Philadelphia-area Wiedener University

1984 – Returns to NHL as head coach of Los Angeles Kings
– Leads Kings back to playoffs following two-year absence with 23-point improvement to prior season
– Completes law degree at University of San Diego

1986 – Signs deal with to become president and general manager of Vancouver Canucks while still under contract with Kings
– Though Quinn argues that Kings missed a deadline on his contract that allowed him to negotiate with other clubs, NHL President John Ziegler suspends Quinn for the remainder of the season and prevents him from taking over control of Canucks until the following June
– On top of the suspension, Ziegler bans Quinn from coaching anywhere in the NHL until 1990

1988 – Drafts Trevor Linden second overall out of the Saskatoon Blades in NHL Entry Draft

1989 – Drafts Pavel Bure 113th overall out of CSKA Moscow

1991 – Takes over as head coach of Canucks with 26 games remaining in regular season

1992 – Wins second Jack Adams Award after leading Canucks to Smythe Division title

1993 – Canucks repeat as Smythe Division winners

1994 – Canucks are defeated by the New York Rangers in seven games of the Stanley Cup Final
– Leaves Canucks’ bench to concentrate on front office duties

1997 – After sale of team to group front by John McCaw, Quinn is fired by Canucks

1998 – Named head coach of Toronto Maple Leafs and leads Leafs to Eastern Conference finals in first season in charge

1999 – Takes over as general manager of team

2002 – Coaches Team Canada to first gold medal in 50 years at Salt Lake City Winter Olympics
– Leads Leafs to Eastern Conference finals, losing to Carolina Hurricanes in six games

2003 – Relinquishes general manager role to John Ferguson, Jr.

2004 – Coaches Canada to victory at World Cup of Hockey with a perfect 6-0 mark

2005 – Hamilton’s Parkdale Arena renamed Pat Quinn Arena

2006 – Quinn’s Canada is eliminated by Russia in quarterfinals of 2006 Torino Winter Olympics
– Leafs miss the playoffs for the first time under Quinn, who is fired by team at season’s end
– Receives honorary degree from McMaster University
– Coaches Canadian entry at 2006 Spengler Cup, where team is defeated 3-2 in final by HC Davos

2008 – Coaches Canada to gold medal at World U18 Championships

2009 – With a team including PK Subban, John Tavares and Alex Pietrangelo, coaches Canada to an undefeated World Junior Championships run and a gold medal
– Returns to NHL as coach of Edmonton Oilers, but is fired after one season with league-worst record

2012 – Named to the Order of Canada

2013 – Takes over as chairman of Hockey Hall of Fame


About this article

By: Sandra D. Sukraj
Copy editor: Brad Garcia
Posted: Nov 24 2014 8:50 pm
Filed under: Sports