Quinn comes full circle

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:31 AM ET

It is, you have to admit, a pretty good story.

Pat Quinn, at age 66, just when it looked like he may never get another chance to coach again, gets one last chance to win the one thing he hasn't won in hockey. And he gets that shot where it all began when he was a junior, winning a Memorial Cup with the Edmonton Oil Kings in 1963.

And he's given that chance as the first hire by the young general manager to whom he gave his first job.

"It's kind of like a young brother getting you out of an old folks home," quipped Quinn.

"I knew I was too young not to be part of the game somewhere," said the ninth head coach in Edmonton Oilers history, who took the job with significant input from short list candidate and now associate coach Tom Renney.

"I'm getting the opportunity that I wasn't sure was going to come my way," said Quinn, the coach of Canada's Salt Lake 2002 Olympic gold medal-winning team, who proved he could coach young talent by winning gold again with Oilers draft choice and Team Canada hero Jordan Eberle at the 2008 World Juniors.

"I turned down a job three weeks after I was out of Toronto and thought there would be a lot more. This is where opportunity meets passion and maybe good things will happen. I'm very, very excited about this chance and anxious to make this the best stop that I've had. Hockey has been my life. It's a thrill and a joy to return to the rink and I'm happy to be here again."

Quinn was almost emotional about it.

"After coaching the U-18 and the World Junior, I really knew I wanted to be part of this game again. I am so happy for the opportunity. My start in hockey was right here in this very community. This city has always had the fans and the passion. I'm fully aware of the passion of the fans and the work ethic and the appreciation of talent here.

"No. 1, this is in Canada and this is a historic organization. I'm certainly aware of the history of the Oilers."

Quinn was at the top of the list of names produced on these pages when Craig MacTavish reached his expiry date and he was at the top of new GM Steve Tambellini's list in a coaching search which included fewer than 10 interviews because there weren't more who had the qualifications to coach in this market - "people who have coached a Canadian team," as Tambellini put it.

"Both Pat and Tom have worked under intense media scrutiny in New York, Toronto and Vancouver. I don't have to worry about that.

"If I think of leadership, I think of Pat. If I think of the way you want to be treated as a player, I think of someone like Pat Quinn. If I think of someone who sets and example morally for an organization of how to go forward, I think of a man like Pat Quinn."

Quinn, Renney and Tambellini all worked together with the Canucks where Quinn was GM for 11 seasons and coached from 1990 to 1996. Quinn gave Tambellini his first job and hired Renney who got his first head coaching job when Quinn was fired.

"I'm proud I brought Steve into the organization. I'm proud of how he's come along. I'm proud of what he did to build his resume up to the point that when Kevin Lowe came looking that Kevin knew he was the right guy."

Quinn said he didn't call Tambellini.

"I've never been one to phone to a team. But I was interested right away," said Quinn of when the Oilers job came open. "Fortunately I got a call right away."

Yesterday, Quinn said a lot of things fans and a few players had to be happy to hear.

"We need to raise the work ethic here. I believe the talent is there but that they didn't become the team everybody thought they'd become because they didn't become a team."

As for the kind of game he wants to play, Quinn says he's always wanted to play the same way the final four teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs have played.

"I like a team with the puck and a team that's good at getting it back," he explained.

"Teams that give the puck up and trap and counter ... I don't like that."

Sounds like he wants to coach Oilers hockey.

THE QUINN ESSENTIALS

Pat Quinn is from Vancouver ... He becomes the ninth head coach in Oilers franchise history ... Quinn's coaching resume includes more than 1,300 regular season games, 92 playoff games and two Stanley Cup Final appearances ... He has also won two Jack Adams Awards as the NHL's coach of the year (in 1979-80 with the Philadelphia Flyers and 1991-92 with the Vancouver Canucks) ... Quinn began coaching in 1978-79 in Philadelphia ... After four seasons with the Flyers, he decided to take time away from hockey to concentrate on earning a law degree from Widener University, a pursuit he later finished at the University of San Diego ... In 1984-85, Quinn joined the L.A. Kings as head coach for three seasons ... In 1987, he joined the Vancouver Canucks organization as President and GM and took over as head coach in the 1990-91 season ... He was at the helm of the Canucks when they went to the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals against the New York Rangers in a series widely regarded as one of the most exciting finals in NHL history ... After another season with the Canucks, he headed east and became head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs for seven seasons, leaving at the conclusion of the 2005-06 NHL season ... On the international stage, Quinn has been prominent, most notably guiding Team Canada to its first gold medal in 50 years at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City ... He also led Canada to the 2004 World Cup of Hockey title ... Most recently, he coached the gold medal-winning Canadians at the 2008 World Juniors ... Over a nine-year NHL playing career, Quinn skated in 606 games, scoring 18 goals and 131 points, with 950 penalty minutes ... He also played 11 NHL playoff games, recording one assist and 21 PIM.


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