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Pat Quinn inducted into Canucks ring of honour before final game

Mike Cassese / REUTERS

VANCOUVER - On a night the Vancouver Canucks ended a dark season, the team honoured a bright light from its past.

Pat Quinn, the former defenceman who moved behind the Canucks' bench and into the general manager's office, was inducted into the NHL team's ring of honour Sunday.

"I can't express the feeling I have to join the ring of honour," Quinn told a cheering crowd at Rogers Arena prior to Vancouver's final regular season game against the Calgary Flames. "I am quite proud of today."

A promising season turned bad for the Canucks, who will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Quinn was Vancouver's president and general manager from 1987 to 1997. He coached the team from 1991-94 and then again late in the 1995-96 season.

There are some parallels between what Quinn, 71, faced back in 1987 and the task being handed to new Canucks' president Trevor Linden.

Quinn took over a wheezing, money-losing franchise and helped turned it into a high-scoring team that came within one game of winning the 1994 Stanley Cup final.

"When you are first starting you know one thing," said Quinn. "I always wanted to be a team player.

"No one person wins a hockey game, no one person builds a franchise. I got pretty lucky in putting this team together."

In 280 games as a coach, Quinn had a record of 141 wins, 111 loses and 28 ties. With him behind the bench the Canucks won two division titles, five playoff rounds and he was voted coach of the year in 1991-92.

As a general manager, Quinn helped build the Canucks by drafting players like Linden and Pavel Bure. Linden recently was named president after the firing of president and general manager Mike Gillis.

Quinn also traded for players like Kirk McLean, Cliff Ronning, Dave Babych, Jyrki Lumme, Greg Adams, Geoff Courtnall and Markus Naslund.

It was through Quinn people like Brian Burke, Dave Nonis, Steve Tambellini and George McPhee received their first NHL jobs.

Quinn played his junior hockey with the Edmonton Oil Kings, winning a Memorial Cup in 1963. He spent nine years as a player, playing defence for Vancouver, Toronto and Atlanta.

He coached the Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers.

On the international stage, Quinn coached Team Canada to gold medals at the 2002 Winter Olympics and 2009 world junior championships.

Quinn said the Canucks may have struggled this year but he sees hope for the future.

"When I came here in the 1970s it was hard to find a Canuck fan," he said. "Now we are all Canuck fans.

"Thanks for how you treated me."

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