In an eleven-day span, the hockey world mourned the loss of two iconic figures — legendary player, coach and executive Pat Quinn passed away on Nov. 23 at the age of 71 and, just over a week later, Montreal Canadiens icon Jean Beliveau died at the age of 83.
Beliveau spent parts of 20 seasons with the Canadiens winning 10 Stanley Cups. He added seven more Championship rings as a member of the club’s management team.
In total, Beliveau appeared in 1,125 games scoring 507 goals and 1,219 points while winning the Art Ross Trophy (1956), Conn Smythe (1965) and the Hart Trophy (1956 and 1964).
Beliveau retired following the 1970-71 season as the franchise leader in points, second in goals and the NHL’s all-time leading playoff scorer. He had his No. 4 raised to the rafters at the Montreal Forum on October 9, 1971.
Quinn broke into the NHL as a player during the 1968-69 season and appeared in 606 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and Atlanta Flames. One of his most memorable moments as a player came during the 1969 playoffs, when he ran over Bruins’ legend Bobby Orr.
Quinn was forced to retire in 1977 due to an ankle injury but wasted little time getting back into the game, joining the Philadelphia Flyers as an assistant coach that same year.
During his first full season as head coach of the Flyers, 1979-80, Quinn led the team to a Stanley Cup final appearance where they were defeated in six games by the New York Islanders. After a stop in L.A., Quinn took a coaching job with the Vancouver Canucks where he led the club to a Stanley Cup final appearance in 1994. Quinn’s coaching career also landed him behind the bench in Toronto and Edmonton.
Internationally, Quinn coached Team Canada to a gold medal victory at the 2002 Olympics and won the World Cup in 2004. He also coached Canada to gold medal victories at the U-18 World Championship in 2008 and the U-20 World Junior Championship in 2009.
Tributes for both men came pouring in shortly after they passed.
Several of the organizations Quinn was involved wore a ‘PQ’ decal on their helmets, and the Canucks paid tribute with an emotional pre-game ceremony on Nov. 25th.
Beliveau’s body lie in state at the Bell Centre in Montreal over the weekend of Dec. 6-7 prior to his funeral on Dec. 10. Before the Canadiens’ 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks Dec. 9, the team honored their longest serving captain with an emotional ceremony of their own.