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Ice Hockey: Quinn to coach 500th game for Leafs

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posted on Oct, 22 2005 @ 09:46 AM
TORONTO (CP) - Pat Quinn will put in his 500th game coaching the Toronto Maple Leafs when he steps behind the bench Saturday night for a home game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

He's third on the franchise's all-time coaching list. Punch Imlach was in charge for 760 games (1959-69, 1979-80) and Hap Day was coach for 546 contests (1940-50). Quinn, 62, is in his seventh season at the helm after taking over in 1998.

"It was a thrill for me to get the opportunity to coach here in the first place," he said after practice Friday. "I've been really lucky.

"I've had some terrific players here and they've achieved highly. This group is a similar group. They're fun to work with, they're motivated, they want to do well and I'm very pleased to be around them.

"The fact it's 500, it's just a number, and I hope there's a lot more."

Quinn doesn't over-coach, which has been a pitfall for others, and a trait which makes players - especially veterans - appreciate his leadership. He's also an attack-first proponent, which is one of the reasons why he was selected to coach Canada's Olympic team.

"He just wants guys to have fun and play hockey, and he keeps the atmosphere loose," says right-winger Tie Domi.

Quinn, who previously coached Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Vancouver, has coached a total of 1,243 NHL games - most among active head coaches, and fourth all-time. He trails only Scotty Bowman (2,141), Al Arbour (1,606) and Dick Irvin (1,449).

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