Pat Quinn is going to experience something new in his distinguished coaching career when he leads Canada into the IIHF world under-18 hockey championship next month.
A two-time winner of the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year in the NHL, the 65-year-old from Hamilton will find himself in charge of a team stocked with teenagers instead of grown men for the first time.
Serving in the role of teacher is something that attracted him to the role.
"I have a lot of experience I can share with them if they are open-minded and obviously a lot of it will be up to them," Quinn said on a conference call Tuesday after his appointment was announced. "It's like anybody trying to learn, if you're open-minded you've got a chance, if you know it all already than nobody is going to help you."
The roster for the April 13-23 championship in Kazan, Russia will be made up of eligible players from the QMJHL, OHL and WHL. Players from teams eliminated in the first round of playoff action will be included in the selection pool.
Canada finished fourth last year.
Just as he would if he was coaching men, Quinn plans to make his roster decisions based on the "intangible side" as much as on the simpler assessments of skills and talent.
And just because his charges are young doesn't mean his treatment of them will be any different.
"They'll be listening to things that I've asked of the men I've had a chance to coach, and that's about sacrifice, about discipline, heart and courage and passion for the game," said Quinn. "Those are the things that become a universal language about the game of hockey and about how we want our Canadian kids to play. ...
"We use all those words and they aren't just words that you throw out, you have to learn to live them."
Quinn last coached in the NHL in 2005-06, his seventh and final season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Previously he coached the Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks, taking them to the Stanley Cup final in 1994 where they lost in seven games to the New York Rangers.
Since he was fired in Toronto, he's done some work with Hockey Canada, most recently as coach for the 2006 entry into the Spengler Cup. Overall, he's participated in nine international events for Canada - coaching the 2002 Olympic team to gold - so he understands clearly the expectations on his squad.
"Once you start, especially when you're running a Canadian team, if you're in it you intend to win it," he said. "We're going there for gold and the fact that these boys will be under 18 doesn't make any difference to what we're trying to accomplish."
Joining Quinn behind the bench as assistants are Guy Boucher of the QMJHL's Drummondville Voltigeurs and Jesse Wallin of the WHL's Red Deer Rebels.
They should help Quinn, whose only experience coaching teenagers have been at various hockey camps and the rare youngster to crack an NHL roster.
"Pat has contributed back to Hockey Canada at all the levels of the game," said Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson. "It's going to be a great challenge for Pat."
Boucher, who just completed his second season as head coach in Drummondville, will return for a third time as an assistant coach with the under-18 program, having been behind the bench at the 2007 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka summer tournament and the 2006 IIHF world U-18 championship.
Wallin, who was named head coach in Red Deer on Monday, spent the past three seasons with the Rebels, serving as assistant coach for the first two before being promoted to associate coach prior to the 2007-08 season.
The Canadian squad will fly to Europe from Toronto on April 7 and will play two pre-tournament games, April 10 versus Belarus and April 11 versus Finland, before opening the tournament against Germany on April 13.