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March 2, 2014

Pat Quinn


PAT QUINN:  I guess Chris was supposed to give the formal statement from the Canucks, but there is no formality here.  Anyway, as he said, just questions from the floor.  This just came to my attention last Thursday, and so I haven't even mentally reacted to it other than well, I guess a mixed emotion of feelings.  Anyway, I'll take questions, and these poor guys have to stand here and listen.

Q.  (No microphone) inside the Canucks arena?
PAT QUINN:  Well, it means a great deal to me.  I was very lucky.  When I came out of playing, there was only one coach per team except for Philadelphia.  They had started, and Barry Ashbee was a coach for them, and Barry passed away and they were looking for someone to come in with no coaching experience.  But I had a great mentor there in Fred Shero.  I worked for a number of good organizations, but none did I feel like I had an involvement with who they are like I do with this organization here.
We came in and it was going out of business.  In 1987 we were doing 7000 at the gate.  We were losing quite a bit of money in those days and we were given the job.  I hired Brian Burke a couple of weeks later, and we went to dinner with the Griffiths during the evening, and they said we're going to sell the team.  I said, "Wait a minute; you just hired us.  What do you mean you're going to sell the team?"  "If we can find buyers we'll sell the team."  But nobody would buy it because it was a bad business deal then and a bad lease with the P & E.
So we went to work, first of all, to try to build a team, and of course these guys that are standing here is the epitome of the best team that I've had.  Like I said, our start was just build a team as best we can.  We knew that it would take some time.  In the meantime we needed to start to get some people in the seats.
So we tried all kinds of things, including we were the first to bring the Russians out.  While it wasn't always received well, they made a difference here.  People here knew who the Russians were, at least who they were as far as playing for Russia, but the real key guy was Larionov.  He was a brilliant player and he could teach a lot.
Well, I'm jumping ahead of myself.  The very first trade I made set this team up for growth, and the very first real draft that I've made was Trevor Linden.  So now we're starting to put some blocks in place, and they were great blocks.  We were fortunate enough to make some trades that built this organization up, and they were not just trades of people of skill, people with size, but people with character, and to me we were on our way.  How long that would last or I would last, who knows because this business is goofy sometimes.  But we got through it and became one of the best teams in the league in the early '90s.  And as I said, these guys are the epitome in '94 going right to the Finals, and in my opinion, still should‑‑ well, as long as I live, these boys should have the Stanley Cup.  Went to the wrong team, but the fact is we don't have it.  So that's a long answer to that.

Q.  Have you always felt like a Canuck though, because you went on and Coached a long time in Toronto and finished in Edmonton.  But did you always feel there was something special about this team?
PAT QUINN:  No, I never left here.  I'd always keep my eye on it.  Toronto was a great place to work.  We built a good team there too.  That's what drives people that go into coaching is how can they influence the young players that they're around?  How can they provide an environment where they can learn that it's not just on the ice, it's important off the ice as well.  When those things start to happen, that's when you get happy with the kind of work you're doing.  You look forward to going every day.  Yes, you have disappointments, but so does life.
I always watched this team.  Like I said, I worked for some good organizations, but none had the influence on me and, I guess, emotional attachment as the Canucks did.

Q.  You could hear from the cheers how much of an emotional attachment this community still has to the '94 team.  What were the specific attributes of that team that you think make it still so popular to this day?
PAT QUINN:  There's a whole lot of them.  I used to talk to lots of the players about having the ledger or having the pyramid of skills.  These skills were physical skills, they were mental skills, and they were attitude.  Well, attitude was your base, and that was, to me character.  That is the kind of guys we ended up with, character from top to bottom.  Sometimes you carry other people along.  That's what good teams do.
We're not always strong.  We're not always on top of our game, and that's when you have a team that looks after each other, and to me that's what these guys did.

Q.  What does it mean to you to have these guys here with you when the announcement is made and to be able to share in that honor for you?
PAT QUINN:  Well, that's spectacular.  As I said, I've just learned about this Thursday and never thought for a minute.  I knew we were going to be getting together, but never thought for a minute that they'd take the time to come downstairs and listen to me again for the 10,000th time, probably.  I used to imagine when I walked out of the dressing room they'd say thank God we don't have to listen to that stuff again.
It was a wonderful feeling.  As good a feeling as I've had this weekend.  You do stuff.  Some of these guys are coaches, but they're raising families.  You do stuff for them, that's what it's all about.  You're not always right with them.  It's like raising kids, for crying out loud.  You're not always right, but your effort should be right to try to have them be the best they can be.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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