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Thinner Quinner celebrates 60th

Wednesday, 29.01.2003 / 12:00 AM / News
Toronto Maple Leafs
by John McCauley

TORONTO -- Pat Quinn may be a year older, celebrating his 60th birthday Wednesday, but had it not been for a some major life changes he might not have been around to blow the candles out.

As the Leafs worked through a valiant run at the Stanley Cup last spring, Quinn's experienced what a lot of men his age go through, a health scare.

Weighing over 300 pounds, the Mighty Quinn's heart had had enough of the late nights, binge eating and stogies. An irregular heartbeat forced him to miss two playoff games and forgo most of his habits, including the cigars.

Pat Quinn is still loving being behind the bench.
Graig Abel Photography
Now walking over an hour a day and eating right, Quinn is close to his goal of getting back down to his playing weigh of 220 pounds. Clearly the weigh loss has given him more energy, making his hospitalisation nothing more than a bad memory.

Speaking during a yet-to-be aired Leaf TV program called "In Conversation", the Irishman has no designs on retirement. He still loves the game and he still loves coaching. He explained quite frankly "my business isn't done here yet," referring to a Stanley Cup win in Toronto.

When asked of his milestone birthday, Quinn had reporters busting up during Saturday's post game news conference.

"I feel terrific and I guess I am happy I am on the right side of the grass," said Quinn. "It's just another year passing by.

"I know this -- I will never catch Harry (Neale, who is 65 and was standing in the background)."

The Leafs colourman replied, in reference to the fact both coached the Vancouver Canucks: "You couldn't in Vancouver, either."

Quinn came to the Maple Leafs prior to the 1998-99 (June 26, 1998), and he led the Leafs into Eastern Conference Final. Since then there has been two other trips to the second round of the playoffs and his second trip to the East final last year.

On July 14, 1999 he added the duties of general manager to his head coaching position. At the time, he was the only person in the NHL to have both duties. He is also only the second Leaf ever to hold both positions.

Quinn has won the NHL Jack Adams Award for best coach twice, in 1991-92 with Vancouver and in 1979-80 with the Philadelphia Flyers. He is one of only three coaches to win the award with two different teams.

Last year he coached Team Canada to Olympic Gold in Salt Lake City, something he will cherish for the rest of his life.

The only thing left for him to do is win the Stanley Cup and with his health in order he's fully committed to staying with Toronto until the deed is done.
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