The Canucks and president Trevor Linden donated their pregame on St. Patrick’s Day to the late Pat Quinn, the legendary coach and figure who established Vancouver’s NHL franchise as a winning destination over 20 years ago.
Quinn didn’t just lead the Canucks to the 1994 Stanley Cup Final, against not all but most odds. He also presided over drafts that yielded Trevor Linden, Kirk McLean, and Pavel Bure, and he established the positive, progressive culture that remains the team’s identity to this day.
“We think about the numbers of games Pat won, and that’s part of it,” said Linden, the Canucks’ president of hockey operations, on Tuesday night. “But the real reason we’re here today, is because Pat Quinn cared about people. He cared about his players – he loved his player, he loved his community.
“It wasn’t all about the wins and the championships. It was about people for Pat, and that’s why his players loved him and that’s why he got the most out of them.”
(For clarification, Quinn never did win a Stanley Cup in Vancouver. But he ended his career with 684 wins – fifth most all-time – and won an Olympic gold medal as the head coach of Team Canada in 2002.)
Before Vancouver’s 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers – the franchise Quinn began his coaching career with, in1 980 – the Canucks renamed a section of Abbott Street ‘Pat Quinn Way’. And several ex-players of his (Markus Naslund, Linden, Bure, McLean) joined with executives and colleagues Bobby Clarke and Stan Smyl in a ceremony and puck drop inside Rogers Arena.
“He’s a hockey legend,” said one fan before the game, near Roger Neilson’s statue. “He brought a whole lot to this city. He drafted great players… from what I hear, just a great person.
“It’s nice to celebrate someone who’s so revered in this city.”
VIDEO: Vancouver Canucks tribute to Pat Quinn (via SendtoNews)