The Mighty Quinn is coming to Ottawa

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

Pat Quinn will be wearing the Maple Leaf again when he returns to Scotiabank Place this December.

But this time the former Toronto Maple Leafs coach won't be a target for Ottawa hockey fans.

The 65-year-old Quinn, who helped lead Canada to a gold medal at the 2002 Olympics and the championship at the World Cup of Hockey in 2004, will coach Canada's team at the world junior hockey championships in Ottawa, replacing former Gatineau Olympiques coach Benoit Groulx, who has moved on to the American Hockey League's Rochester Americans.

"If we don't do well as a team, I might (still) be Public Enemy No. 1 (in Ottawa)," said Quinn with a laugh during yesterday's news conference at the Westin Hotel. "To be asked, and considered to do this, is fulfilling in a lot of ways. I will measure our success when we see how this team performs and how the young men do.

"Right now, it's a wonderful opportunity for me to be involved with our young people and I see that as a privilege and I'm going to cherish it the best I can. The gold is what we're trying to accomplish here. If these young men can play well and play to their abilities, we'll have a chance to win. That will be a mark of any success I will feel."

DECISION MAKES SENSE

There will be criticism because Quinn isn't currently coaching in the junior ranks in Canada, but this is a decision that makes a lot of sense. Not only will Quinn be behind the bench, he told Hockey Canada officials he would not accept a post in the NHL if one is offered before January.

Not only will Quinn be behind the bench -- with assistants Guy Boucher (Drummondville), Dave Cameron (Mississauga) and Willie Desjardins (Medicine Hat) -- the former NHL GM will also help Hockey Canada chief scout Al Murray evaluate talent by going to junior games in the next three months.

"(Murray's) got a list of about 50 players he's identified, that we talked about (yesterday) with the coaching staff and I'm going to go on some of those trips with him," said Quinn.

Quinn coached the Canadian under-18 squad to a gold medal at the 2008 IIHF championship in Kazan, Russia in April. Quinn has received rave reviews for bringing that team together.

"He just did an outstanding job (in Russia)," said Nicholson. "We went into that tournament not having all of our best players because a lot of them were playing for the Memorial Cup and we won the gold there. A lot of those players will be on the (world juniors) roster. That's going to be helpful to Pat and the whole staff."

MISSING TOP PLAYERS

This isn't going to be an easy job for Quinn. The club will almost certainly be without top prospects Steven Stamkos (Tampa) and Sam Gagner (Edmonton). Both players are expected to make their NHL teams, while eight other players are on the bubble.

"You don't have success without good players. Winning is 100% coaching, but coaching is 90% recruitment," said Quinn. "I've been very lucky internationally and in the NHL to have good players, but those players have to come together as well. I have a feeling, just the way we did at the under-18, we're going to have the leadership to bring this team together."


Videos

Photos