“I think it’s a pretty good deal,” the 63-year-old told The Canadian Press on Friday. “We talked about it last summer and as we got into November it seemed like something that was quite appealing.”
The six-team club tournament goes Dec. 26-31 in Davos, Switzerland. Canada will field a team of Canadian pros who mostly play in the Swiss league.
For Quinn, who hasn’t found NHL work after being let go by the Toronto Maple Leafs last spring, it’s an opportune chance.
“These types of events are way different than coaching a team for a year-long basis, but it’s still an opportunity to be around young people that are competitive,” said Quinn. “And being with a team that represents Canada is always a special thing, too.”
Quinn has a long history with Hockey Canada. Not only did he coach Team Canada to Olympic gold at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games and to victory at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, he was also the co-GM for Canada’s 1997 IIHF world championship side that captured gold in Helsinki as well as the GM of the 1998 world championship team. He coached Canada to a bronze medal at the 1986 world championship.
He last coached Team Canada last February at the Turin Olympics when the team was surprisingly knocked out in the quarter-finals.
Coaching Canada at next spring’s world hockey championship in Moscow would interest him as well.
“That certainly would,” Quinn said. “I’m not doing this because of that, but that’s a reasonable question since (the world championship) is the next major tournament for Canada after the Spengler. But no, I have no expectation that that’s what this is about. To me this is a one-time situation.
“But if it leads to something else, I’ve always said I would be more than pleased to help any way I could with projects that Team Canada has.”
Hockey Canada has yet to decide on its coach for the world championship. Hockey’s national governing body lost its full-time head coach when Marc Habscheid took an assistant coaching job with the NHL’s Boston Bruins.
Quinn, meanwhile, has found it tough to adjust to life without hockey. He’s been a coach or a GM in the NHL almost uninterrupted since 1978 so sitting idle at home in Vancouver over the last few months has been a new experience.
“Let’s face it, our work fulfils us,” said Quinn. “And when you have a job like I’ve had in hockey for many, many years, you feel like you’re lucky on top of that. Not only do you go places and do things, usually there’s some real meaning to it, at least to you personally. All of a sudden that’s not there.
“And I haven’t made that mental switch yet to say, ‘Fine, let’s do something else.’ I’m not there yet, except I do know I’d like to coach again.”
Quinn will be joined behind the bench in Davos by Sean Simpson and Jim Koleff, both of whom are Canadians coaching in Europe. Canada lost in the championship game last year to Russia’s Mettallurg Magnitogorsk. Canada has won the tournament 10 times since first competing in 1984, the last time in 2003.
Canada opens the tournament Dec. 26 against Mora IK of Sweden. All Canadian games will televised on Rogers Sportsnet.