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Gregory, Quinn, Savard receive Order of Hockey

by Mike Brophy

TORONTO -- Tom Renney was thrilled to honor Pat Quinn as one of three inductees into Canada's Order of Hockey Canada at Air Canada Centre on Tuesday.

Renney hopes one day soon he'll see Quinn enshrined into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"I think he should be in the Hall of Fame," said Renney, president and CEO of Hockey Canada. "What is it, 50 years in the game? He gets us [Canada] a gold medal at the [2002] Olympic Games. He wins us a gold medal at the [2009] World Junior Championship. He puts all kinds of people in a safe place in the NHL and he makes big stars out of a number of others as a coach, never mind as an administrator. Maybe it's only a matter of time. I'd like to think that it will be sooner rather than later."

Quinn, who died Nov. 23, 2014 at 71, was named to the 2015 class of Distinguished Honorees of the Order of Hockey in Canada along with NHL senior vice-president of hockey operations and former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Jim Gregory, and former Montreal Canadiens defenseman and NHL GM Serge Savard. Gregory and Savard also are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Hockey Canada introduced the Order of Hockey in Canada in April 2012. The program annually honors individuals whose role or service in the game in Canada is recognized as extraordinary. Previous inductees include: Jean Beliveau, Cassie Campbell-Pascall, Clare Drake, Wayne Gretzky, Paul Henderson, Gordie Howe, Dave King, Mark Messier, Gordon Renwick, France St-Louis and Steve Yzerman.

Quinn played 606 games in the NHL; he had 131 points and 950 penalty minutes and is best remembered for a thundering body check of superstar Bobby Orr in the 1969 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

He went on to a 20-year NHL coaching career with the Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers. He went 684-528-34 with 154 ties and won the Jack Adams Award twice, in 1980 and 1992. He coached the 1979-80 Flyers and 1993-94 Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final.

Quinn's daughter Kalli said her father would be very humbled by this honor.

"Hockey is what he loved," she said. "The only thing he loved more than hockey was his family. We are very proud of him."

Gregory, 79, was hired as a scout by the Maple Leafs in 1968 and a year later was promoted to general manager. In 10 seasons the Maple Leafs went to the playoffs eight times.

He served as the Director of NHL Central Scouting and served 17 years as chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Hall in 2007.

Gregory said he was humbled to be honored Tuesday and said he treasures his many years working in the hockey world.

"My son was asked in grade four by his teacher if his dad works, and he responded by saying, 'No, he's in hockey,'" Gregory said.

Gregory said when Renney called to inform him of the honor, "I asked him if he was sure he had the right number."

Savard, 69, is the senior vice-president of hockey operations for the Canadiens. As a solid two-way defenseman Savard played on eight Stanley Cup championship teams; he was one of the Canadiens' famed "Big Three" on defense, along with Larry Robinson and Guy Lapointe. He was Canadiens GM for two more Cups. Savard also played for Canada in the Summit Series in 1972 against the Soviet Union.

"Winning that series is something I will cherish all my life," Savard said.

All three honorees, along with the members of Canada's 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship team, will be honored at the 12th annual Hockey Canada Foundation Celebrity Classic on June 10-11 in Toronto.

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