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Hall of Fame

Pat Quinn knew when to keep it light

Hall of Fame inductee's lucky socks turned grimaces to grins at Salt Lake City Olympics

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / Staff Writer

With tension high before the gold-medal game at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, Canada's coach, Pat Quinn, knew exactly what to do.

"Before the gold-medal game, there was Wayne [Gretzky, the team's executive director], Kevin [Lowe, assistant executive director], Steve [Tambellini, director of player personnel] and myself in the room with Pat and everyone's a little nervous, not saying much, and all of a sudden Pat drops his pants," said Bob Nicholson, then the president of Hockey Canada. "He had knee socks on that were made by his grandchildren. They had good luck and hearts on them. He said, 'You have to enjoy yourselves, guys, because we're going to win because of these socks.

"He just knew how to lighten things up to make them work."

Quinn will be inducted as a builder into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday.

Quinn's daughter, Kalli, said the socks remain among the family's prized mementos.

"We still have them, and some other stuff they had made for him," Kalli Quinn said. "It's actually a tradition started by my sister [Val] and me. When he played, we used to try to find him the ugliest socks we could find. Lots of people have the ugly Christmas sweater thing; for us it was socks. They were his good luck charms."

Working for the Nashville Predators at the time, Quinn's daughter coordinated the men's team's family activities for Hockey Canada in Salt Lake City, culminating in the 5-2 victory against the United States in the gold-medal game.

The experience of working around her father gave her memories for life.

"There were 189 family members; I will never forget that number," Kalli Quinn said. "When Bob [Nicholson] asked me to do it, I was overwhelmed. Of course I said, 'Yes, I'd love to do it.'

"I remember calling my dad and telling him that Bob asked and he said he had heard they might ask. He said, 'Only one thing, do your job, and I don't want the players to have to worry one second about their families.

"It was neat to see. As much as the players were together as a team, the families did so much together as well. We were all just one group, the players and the families. It was fascinating."

Two moments at the Olympics remain etched in her mind.

"Him sitting on a bench outside a day or two before the gold-medal game," she said. "I said to him, 'Dad, oh my God, you're an Olympic medalist.' He looked at me and said, 'There's only one color I want.'

"Someone snuck us down to the bench right after the game. It was so neat. Dad had tears in his eyes, he was so happy. When my mom and sister and I were there, and it was a very neat experience to share that as a family. He even pulled me out on the ice for the celebration photo.

"To this day, every time I hear the Canadian national anthem, I think of that moment. I will never think of any other moment when I hear it."

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