KELOWNA, B.C. -- Pat Quinn always seems to have a lot of fun when he's around junior-age hockey players.
It happened again Wednesday as he coached Team Orr to a 2-1 victory against Mark Recchi-coached Team Cherry at the 2012 Top Prospects Game.
"My hope in our young people has been reinforced again," said Quinn.
While he's had a ton of success coaching in the NHL, he's been just as good with younger players. In 2008 he guided Canada to a gold medal at the World Under-18 Championship, and a year later he led Canada to the gold at the 2009 World Junior Championship.
And from what he's seen with today's young players, he feels confident this current group could have as much success as those teams he coached.
"Our coaches at the young levels are doing a terrific job," said Quinn. "These programs of excellence are making us all aware we can help these young boys get better and better skills all the time. You saw the skills out here tonight. That first period was fast, the puck was moving, the players were moving. There was contact in the game -- not dirty contact, just good physical play. It was a treat to watch. I'm convinced, like I was then, we can take our boys, develop them in the (Canadian Hockey League) and the centers of excellence and we can play anybody in the world and we can match them with skill, and I'd like to think we can play a better team game. Tonight reinforce all that for me."
Besides their playing ability, Quinn found a great affection for them off the ice, as well.
"The young men are terrific kids," he said. "We're only 2. 5 days around them, but I can see our parents do good work, too. These are nice, humble kids. At least that's what they showed us. I believe that's true. It was a lot of fun for me. I hope I get the chance to do something like this again."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK