After a seven-year stint as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Pat Quinn thought about retirement.

“I wasn’t that anxious about getting back in,” Quinn said of his mindset after being fired by the Leafs following a disappointing 2006 season when Toronto missed the playoffs.

Quinn, who averaged 43 wins a season during his Toronto tenure, took some time to assess his future and found himself itching to get behind the bench less than a year after being let go.

“By February, I figured, geez, I miss this,” said Quinn, who was recently hired as head coach of the Edmonton Oilers. “I wasn’t ready for retirement. I started to let it be known that if anybody might be interested in a good coach that I’d be willing to talk to them.”

Quinn went on to coach Canada to gold medals at the 2008 world under-18 hockey championships in Kazan, Russia, and the 2009 world junior hockey championships in Ottawa.

“He’s one of those coaches that just sort of stands out,” said L.A. Kings prospect Thomas Hickey, Team Canada’s captain in Ottawa. “He’s a very high pedigree and he’s very well respected so it was neat to be one of his players.”

With assistance from associate coach Tom Renney, Quinn is looking forward to getting the most out of Edmonton’s young talent.

“We’re going to spend our next two months, three months deciding on a system of play that can help our guys be the best they can be,” said the 66-year-old bench boss, who won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach in both 1980 with the Philadelphia Flyers and in 1992 with the Vancouver Canucks. “We’ll find that. We’ll work together and we’ll see what we can do and we’ll give them the best we can to have some good results at the end of the day.”

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