November 24, 2014 / 5:13 PM / 5 years ago

Longtime NHL coach Pat Quinn dies at age 71

Canada's head coach Pat Quinn watches his team's practice at the 2009 IIHF U20 World Junior Hockey Championships in Ottawa, in this file photo from January 4, 2009. REUTERS/Shaun Best/Files

(Reuters) - Pat Quinn, a longtime National Hockey League coach who twice reached the Stanley Cup finals, has died at the age of 71, officials said Monday.

Quinn died Sunday night at Vancouver General Hospital after a year of declining health, said officials from the Vancouver Giants, a junior hockey team that Quinn co-owned.

A cause of death was not immediately released.

“Words cannot express the pain we all feel today for the Quinn family,” Giants majority owner Ron Toigo said in a statement.

“Pat was an inspiration to all of us. He always said that respect was something that should be earned, not given, and the respect that he garnered throughout the hockey world speaks for itself. He will be sorely missed.”

Quinn played nine years in the NHL as a defenseman but made his name as a coach. He was behind the bench for 20 seasons, coaching the Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Pat Quinn,” said Jim Gregory, vice-chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame. “Pat is one of hockey’s most respected individuals whose lifetime involvement as a player, coach and executive has made an indelible mark on the game.”

Quinn made the playoffs 15 times as a coach and reached the Stanley Cup Final twice, with the Flyers in 1980 and the Canucks in 1994. He was a two-time winner of the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach.

Quinn was a member of the committee that determines who is inducted into the Hall of Fame and coached the Canadian men’s team to the 2002 Olympic gold medal.

Reporting by Steve Ginsburg; Editing by Jim Loney

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