Pat Quinn Passes Away at Age 71

The Vancouver Giants announced this morning that co-owner and Vancouver Canucks legend Pat Quinn had passed away this morning after a lengthy battle with illness. Quinn left an indelible legacy on Vancouver hockey, and will be fondly remembered not only in Vancouver, but around the NHL.

Quinn joined the Vancouver Canucks as team president and general manager in 1987-88, and radically reshaped the franchise, adding cornerstone pieces such as Trevor Linden, Kirk MacLean, and Pavel Bure. He assumed head coaching duties as well at the end of the 1990-91 season, and coached the team all the way to game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in 1993-94.

Quinn left the Canucks in November of 1997, joining the Toronto Maple Leafs. He would coach numerous Canadian teams internationally, and won an Olympic gold medal in 2002, a World Cup in 2004, a World U-18 championship in 2008, and is still the last man to coach Canada to a world junior championship gold medal in 2009.

Pat Quinn will be dearly missed in Vancouver for his contributions to the Vancouver Canucks, but my formative memories of Quinn are as the coach of the Maple Leafs, and more importantly, as the man who guided Canada to their first gold medal in men’s Olympic hockey in 50 years, beating the Americans 5-2 in the gold medal game.

This morning has seen an outpouring of fond memories of Quinn from around the hockey world, and if you have a Quinn story to share, we invite you to do so in the comment section below. To offer your condolences to the Quinn family, you can do so through the Vancouver Giants. Contact information is posted here on their website.

  • andyg

    Best GM and coach both the Canucks and Leafs have had in the last 20 years. Great at motivating the players, made a lot of fantastic trades and drafts, run out of town in both places by very poor ownership decisions. More than anything a solid and decent man. Met him once — the most enormous hands I’ve ever seen. RIP.

  • andyg

    He outfoxed the entire league to land Pavel Bure – the best Canuck forward-without-a-twin of all time, in my opinion.

    For that single transaction alone he is a legend in my books.


  • andyg

    I want to share a story of Pat Quinn, and what he meant for my family. I was too young during the Quinn years to remember anything, but this story of my grandmother tells me all I need to know about the man. While cleaning out my grandmother’s belongings after she passed, we found a letter. My grandmother had always been a huge Canucks fan, so much so that she couldn’t watch the games. She would get too nervous, too excited, and would have to listen to the games on the radio and then rush to the nearest TV when a big play happened. She knew every player, every number, everything. The Canucks were “her boys”, and everyone knew it.

    When Bure missed a few games for an unknown reason in one of his first seasons in Vancouver, the talk radio started ripping into him about being a soft Russian, being weak, not being able to handle the North American game. My grandma phoned them up, tore into them, and let them know Bure was dealing with a knee injury. She was, of course, laughed off the air. The team hadn’t said anything about a knee. Until the next day when the team announced Bure was dealing with a sore knee. The station issued an apology to “Helen, in Abbotsford, for our comments yesterday.”

    This letter we found was from the Canucks organization, sometime during the Pat Quinn years (I don’t have the letter with me, so apologies for the lack of details.) My grandma was upset that the team had traded away a particular player, and wrote the team to let them know her feelings (as slightly crazy grandmas are aught to do). She received a response “From the Office of Pat Quinn, General Manager of the Vancouver Canucks”, thanking her for her long-lasting and continued support of the organization, reassuring her that, although that player was a favourite, they believed that it would benefit the team moving forward. The letter then ended with:

    “I would like to show my appreciation for you continued support of the Vancouver Canucks. Enclosed is a team photo, signed by myself and Trevor Linden. We hope you will always remain a fan of this team and this organization.”

    My grandma passed away in 2013. We never found the photo that was apparently enclosed with the letter. But we know she was a Canucks fan from the moment the were founded til the moment she passed. This gesture from Pat Quinn, something he had no obligation to do, meant so much to my grandmother. Rest in Peace, Mr. Quinn.

  • andyg

    R.I.P Quinn,
    Thank you for all you have done.

    I hope he gets to cheer on the Nucks with your Granny 😉

    Maybe they can talk the hockey gods into giving the Nucks a cup sometime soon?