Hockey loses pair of legendary figures in Quinn, Tikhonov
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Pat Quinn, a former defenseman and longtime NHL coach and executive who brought a gruff and passionate presence to hockey across the decades, died at 71.
He died Sunday night in Vancouver after a long illness, the Hockey Hall of Fame and the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants said Monday. Quinn was co-owner of the team.
Quinn played parts of nine seasons in the NHL and went on to coach the Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Quinn guided Canada to the championship at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, the country’s first gold medal in men’s hockey in 50 years.
“Pat Quinn was a giant of the hockey world, on the ice and off,” Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper said on Twitter.
Quinn coached Vancouver to the 1994 Stanley Cup final, the Canadian world junior team to gold in 2009 and helped the Maple Leafs reach the Eastern Conference finals two times.
“Whether he was playing for a team, coaching a team or building one, Pat Quinn was thoughtful, passionate and committed to success,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.
Quinn led the Philadelphia Flyers to a 35-game unbeaten streak in the 1979-80 season.
‘Miracle on Ice’ mentor
Viktor Tikhonov, the Soviet hockey coach whose teams won three Olympic gold medals but fell to the United States in the “Miracle on Ice,” died after a long illness. He was 84.
Tikhonov had been receiving treatment at home for an undisclosed illness that had left him unable to walk in recent weeks.
“The entire global hockey community has lost a great coach,” Vladislav Tretiak, who played goalie for Tikhonov’s Soviet team and now heads the Russian Hockey Federation, told Russia’s R-Sport news agency.
Under Tikhonov, the Soviet “Big Red Machine” was a powerhouse, although it had to settle for the silver medal at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid after the defeat to the United States.
Tikhonov’s teams went on to win Olympic gold in 1984 and 1988, and he took the post-Soviet Unified Team to another gold at the 1992 Games. He also led the Soviet team to eight world championship titles.