Legendary Leafs Coach Pat Quinn Dies at 71
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Legendary Leafs Coach Pat Quinn Dies at 71

The former player, coach, and executive died at Vancouver General Hospital on Sunday night.

Former NHL coach Pat Quinn, who stood behind the bench for more than 600 Toronto Maple Leafs games, died at Vancouver General Hospital on Sunday night at the age of 71.

Quinn, who had struggled with health issues over the past year, also spent time as a player and an executive. Born in Hamilton, he began his NHL playing career with the Leafs in 1968 when he was 25 years old. As a player, he is perhaps best remembered for laying out star Boston Bruins defenceman Bobby Orr during that rookie season. He later played for the Vancouver Canucks and Atlanta Flames, until his career was ended prematurely in 1977 by an ankle injury.

Soon after retiring as a player, Quinn took up coaching. He won the Jack Adams Award for NHL coach of the year after taking the Philadelphia Flyers to the 1980 Stanley Cup Finals. He left hockey to pursue a law degree at Widener University and then the University of San Diego, but returned to the game in 1984 as head coach of the Los Angeles Kings.

After two and a half seasons in California, he did a stint with the Canucks, serving variously as president, general manager, and head coach. It was in Vancouver that he won his second Jack Adams Award—making him one of only four coaches to win the award with two different teams.

The Leafs took Quinn on as their head coach in 1998 (he would also serve briefly as the team’s general manager). He had an immediate impact: in 1998–99, his first season at the helm, the Leafs made it to the Eastern Conference Finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The team would miss the playoffs only once during Quinn’s seven-season coaching tenure.

Quinn would later serve for one disappointing season as head coach of the Edmonton Oilers. He also coached international hockey at various points in his career. Although he never won the Stanley Cup, his Flyers having been upset in 1980 by the New York Islanders, Quinn coached Team Canada to its first Olympic gold medal in 50 years at the 2002 games in Salt Lake City. He would go on to win three more international competitions as a head coach.

Quinn was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2012, and in 2013 became chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame.