Thursday, October 18, 2007

Too old to coach?

Pierre LeBrun has a good piece on today that includes a chat with Pat Quinn, who is still looking to get back into the NHL coaching game. With an opening in Atlanta, he may suddenly get that shot:
At 64, some wonder whether the game has passed him by and whether he'll get another shot. I disagree that his age is a problem, and obviously so does he.

"No I don't think that's a key thing," Quinn said. "It has nothing to do with my mind or my progressiveness in the game. I've often been ahead of the curve on a lot of things, and still feel the same way. I haven't lost that desire to find ways to help clubs win hockey games and help players get better. As far as age, my health is terrific and I still have that edge. If you look at other sports, clearly in baseball and in football, it doesn't seem to impede some of the guys that are running teams there. ...

"In fact the older, more experienced hand in certain situations might be the best way to go."
Quinn would be the oldest coach in the NHL if he returned to the ranks: The only other over-60 bench boss is Minnesota's Jacques Lemaire, who turned 62 in training camp. Toronto's Paul Maurice is the youngest coach in the league at 40.

There certainly is a range where coaches fall, and it's not exactly a job for a spry youngster. The average age of the 29 current NHL coaches is right around 49, and there are 10 who are 50 or older. (Not that that's old, Dad.)

Forty to 50 seems to be the common range, although only five are under 45:

Coach Team Birthdate Age Games coached Games played
Lemaire, Jacques Min 07-Sep-45 62.11 967 853
Keenan, Mike Cal 21-Oct-49 57.99 1177 0
Murray, Andy StL 03-Mar-51 56.63 410+ 0
Hitchcock, Ken Cmb 17-Dec-51 55.84 757 0
Martin, Jacques Fla 01-Oct-52 55.05 1016 0
Paddock, John Ott 09-Jun-54 53.36 281 87
Renney, Tom NYR 01-Mar-55 52.64 266 0
Wilson, Ron SJ 28-May-55 52.39 870 177
Carlyle, Randy Ana 19-Apr-56 51.50 164 1055
Hanlon, Glen Was 20-Feb-57 50.66 218 477
Nolan, Ted NYI 07-Apr-58 49.53 246 78
Tortorella, John TB 24-Jun-58 49.32 410 0
MacTavish, Craig Edm 15-Aug-58 49.18 492 1093
Quenneville, Joel Col 15-Sep-58 49.09 757 803
Ruff, Lindy Buf 17-Feb-60 47.67 738 691
Carbonneau, Guy Mon 18-Mar-60 47.59 82 1318
Julien, Claude Bos 23-Apr-60 47.49 238 14
Gretzky, Wayne Phx 26-Jan-61 46.73 164 1487
Savard, Denis Chi 04-Feb-61 46.70 61 1196
Crawford, Marc LA 13-Feb-61 46.68 905 176
Vigneault, Alain Van 14-May-61 46.43 330+ 42
Tippett, Dave Dal 25-Aug-61 46.15 328 721
Sutter, Brent NJ 10-Jun-62 45.36 0 1111
Trotz, Barry Nas 15-Jul-62 45.26 656 0
Babcock, Mike Det 29-Apr-63 44.47 328 0
Therrien, Michel Pit 04-Nov-63 43.96 323 0
Laviolette, Peter Car 07-Dec-64 42.86 380 12
Stevens, John Phi 04-May-66 41.46 74 53
Maurice, Paul Tor 30-Jan-67 40.72 686 0
* vacant *

-- --

Some of my NHL games coached numbers are a bit off, as I couldn't find one official source, so if you have the actual totals, feel free to fill me in.

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At 3:37 p.m., October 18, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hockey is very simple game so there's no chance that game would pass any coach by.

Coach might lose interest in his job and obviously that's a different story.

Pat Quinn can still do the job, easily. How's Laughs being doing after Pat was let go?

At 4:33 p.m., October 18, 2007, Blogger Jes Gőlbez said...

Pat Quinn is huge, and could still rip almost every other coach in half, even if he's almost old enough for the Canadian Pension plan.

Quinn knows the game and it certainly has not passed him by. His players seem to like him (for the most part) and he'd be a good choice for a veteran team.


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