The Big Irishman is getting a big statue.
In an email to season ticket holders on Tuesday, the Vancouver Canucks have announced that they will unveil a statue of Pat Quinn on February 18, outside Rogers Arena.
The statue will be unveiled at 6:15 pm, before their game against the Calgary Flames on the North Plaza. The North Plaza (near the corner of Expo Boulevard and Pat Quinn Way, naturally) is the same area where the Roger Neilson statue is currently located.
“The life-sized statue is part of a project to create a permanent legacy of Pat’s amazing impact on hockey and Canadians from coast-to-coast,” the season ticket email explained.
There weren’t many Canucks more beloved than Quinn, who passed away suddenly at the age of 71 in November of 2014. The Big Irishman was an original Canuck, playing defence for the team during their first two seasons in the NHL from 1970 to 1972.
Quinn returned as president and general manager of the Canucks in 1988. He made a number of notable trades, acquiring Kirk McLean and Greg Adams in his first deal, as well as bringing in BC boys Cliff Ronning and Geoff Courtnall in a shrewd trade in 1991.
Quinn made the best draft pick in team history, drafting Pavel Bure in the sixth round in 1989, as well as the best trade, acquiring Markus Naslund for Alex Stojanov in 1996.
The first stretch of sustained success by the franchise was with Quinn behind the bench, where he coached the team to Smythe Division championships in 1992 and 1993. He was also the bench boss for the team when they nearly won the Stanley Cup in 1994.
Quinn’s impact on the franchise was prevalent, even after he left the organization in 1997. As a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee, he was instrumental in getting Pavel Bure inducted. Bure remains the person in the Hall of Fame because of his playing career with the Canucks.
Quinn is one of six Canucks in the team’s Ring of Honour and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame last November in the builder’s category.
*Update: The Canucks have released more information about the statue, which includes some neat details.
From the media release:
The life sized statue is part of a legacy project created by a small group of Quinn’s former colleagues, partners, family friends and fans who wanted to create a permanent legacy of Pat Quinn’s amazing impact on hockey and Canadians from coast to coast to coast. The statue depicts Quinn coaching the Vancouver Canucks during the 1994 Stanley Cup playoffs and includes him holding a roster card engraved with each player’s name from 1994 roster.
The statue also includes “Pat’s Bench” for fans to sit and have their photos taken. The idea behind “Pat’s Bench” originally came from Canadian Olympic athletes outside of Canada House in Salt Lake City. During the 2002 Winter Games, Quinn would often sit on a certain bench outside of Canada House and athletes from all sports would come and chat with him about anything and everything, specifically the ones that were not performing well. The statue’s overall depiction reflects Pat’s belief that all were part of the team, including fans, and was specifically created with that inclusion in mind.
The bronze statue was created by Norm Williams, one of Canada’s pre-eminent sculptors and creator of the nearby Roger Neilson statue at Rogers Arena. The City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Canucks have been important contributing partners in the statue’s development and installation.
Quinn’s legacy will also be reflected through the Pat Quinn Scholarship fund which is in currently in the development stages with Hockey Canada. This fund will focus on hockey players and athletes continuing their pursuit of a professional degree or designation upon completion of their post-secondary education and intercollegiate athletic careers.
Fan are encouraged to dress warmly and arrive early for the ceremony and unveiling of the statue prior to the Canucks game versus the Calgary Flames.
When: Saturday, February 18th at 6:15 pm
Where: Toyota Plaza at Rogers Arena, near Pat Quinn Way
Who: Daughter Kalli Quinn, Trevor Linden, President Hockey Operations, Vancouver Canucks Canucks Alumni