Annual tournament in honour of Quinn will focus on virtual initiatives
By Brandon Yip, Senior Columnist
“Pat was passionate about developing athletes to be successful and leaders off the ice, and this tournament is true to his spirit and legacy.” – Jennifer Scott
The Pat Quinn Classic (PQC), one of the biggest Peewee and Bantam hockey tournaments during the Christmas holidays, has been canceled due to COVID-19. Despite no hockey, there will be off-ice activities occurring in its place.
A statement on the official tournament website states: “After thorough consultation with local health authorities and tournament partners, we made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Pat Quinn Classic.” They are planning to continue Pat Quinn’s legacy by “planning some exciting community and virtual initiatives. Details will be shared on social media and this website in the coming weeks.”
There have also been changes to the scholarships. To make more players eligible, the tournament’s Twitter account posted on November 21: “Since we are not able to host a tournament this year, we are expanding our eligibility criteria so more players are able to apply. In previous years, you had to participate in the tournament.” Furthermore, the PQC announced on Twitter on November 25 they are holding a virtual food drive in support of the Vancouver Food Bank—with their goal to raise $2,500.
The PQC is managed by Sport Burnaby and is run by Inside Edge Hockey. Jennifer Scott, Event Director for the PQC, says despite no hockey, there are important off-ice initiatives that need to continue. “We also know there is a significant need in our community and many families will need some help to have a bright holiday season,” Scott said in an email interview with the Other Press. “We have teamed up with Burnaby Minor Hockey Association to run a toy drive to support the Burnaby Christmas Bureau and a Virtual Food Drive to support the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. We have some terrific prizes including a Nintendo Switch and an autographed Canucks jersey. Again, anyone interested should check out patquinnclassic.com for more details.”
The Pat Quinn Classic tournament is held in Burnaby at several local arenas: Burnaby Lake, Kensington, Burnaby Winter Club, Scotiabarn (formerly Burnaby 8 Rinks), Bill Copeland—where the championship games are held, and Planet Ice in Coquitlam. Burnaby is also home to the Burnaby Minor Hockey Association and Burnaby Winter Club. Burnaby has the highest ratio of rink per capita in the world. The city of Burnaby has produced many exceptional hockey players such as Cliff Ronning, Joe Sakic, Paul Kariya, Chris Joseph, Darren McCarty, Glenn Anderson, the late Jack McIIhargey, Greg Zanon, Karl Alzner, Tyler McNeely, Byron Ritchie, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Matt Barzal, and Dante Fabbro—all played their minor hockey in Burnaby and later moved on to the NHL and/or Team Canada.
The PQC has brought in dozens of teams from all over Canada and the US. The tournament has been held since 2015 in honour of the late Pat Quinn. He was a former NHL player and later coach, general manager, and president with the Vancouver Canucks. He also coached the Toronto Maple Leafs. Quinn also coached Canada to a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002. In 2004, he coached Canada when they won the World Cup of Hockey tournament. And in 2009, he was the bench boss for Canada’s gold medal victory at the World Junior Championships. Quinn was also a co-owner of the Vancouver Giants of the WHL. He passed away in November 2014 at age 71 after a lengthy illness and was survived by his wife Sandra, and daughters Kalli and Val.
The Pat Quinn Classic has been a success in its first five years—more than 3,100 players have played in the tournament. Burnaby also has a long history of hosting an annual Bantam hockey tournament during Christmas for 58 years going back to 1962. In terms of numbers, the PQC has raised $55,000 for the Pat Quinn Scholarship Fund, 170 players have been drafted to the WHL, and the Vancouver Canuck Alumni Association has given $6,000 in scholarships to worthy PQC players.
Tournament organizers are hopeful there will be a PQC in 2021, but for now, it will be virtual activities and updates while not deviating from its mission and goals. Continuing to honour Pat Quinn’s legacy is something Jennifer Scott says is very important: “It’s a tremendous responsibility and honour to play a small role in carrying forward Pat’s legacy. We hold ourselves to the highest standards on how we conduct ourselves, how we deliver the tournament and how we represent the Quinn name. We are fortunate to have the guidance of [former NHL player and Vancouver Canuck] Cliff Ronning and Kalli Quinn who ensure we remain true to the vision and objectives. Pat was passionate about developing athletes to be successful and leaders off the ice, and this tournament is true to his spirit and legacy. Pat was a giant of a man, and this tournament allows people to share their experiences and stories of Pat as a man, father, coach, husband, and leader.”