Kalli Quinn says it’s exciting that a team from Denmark travelled to Canada to participate in the 2023 Pat Quinn Classic. “It tells me that Burnaby is doing a great job of promoting this event.”
The Esbjerg Ice Hockey Club U16 became the first European team to take part in the Pat Quinn Classic. The Danes did not win a game at the December 2023 tournament, but Quinn says hockey isn’t only about the results. “Yes, people do want to win, but it’s also about making friends and how you approach your experience with the game. I think these kids are going to have a memory for lifetime and that’s beautiful for me,” says Quinn, who travelled all over the world with her family for the sport.
Quinn is thrilled with the growth of the Pat Quinn Classic with the tournament split in two parts in 2023 with 16 teams taking part in the U15 Elite Division in November and 59 teams competing in eight divisions in the December tournament. She credits the city, the local hockey community, Tourism Burnaby and Sport Burnaby for their contributions to the success of the tournament. “Burnaby is such an integral part of hockey in British Columbia and to have his name associated with this tournament is amazing.”
Every year, Quinn presents medals to the tournament finalists. “I like doing it because it’s so exciting,” she says. “Some of these kids may not play hockey in the future. This may the pinnacle of their career. To be able to give them a small token of our appreciation for their hard work and achievements, it makes my day.”
Speaking about achievements, players in the Pat Quinn Classic are also eligible to apply for the Vancouver Canucks Alumni Association Scholarships. Recipients are recognized for their excellence in sport and school and as community volunteers. As Quinn reviews the annual applications, she continues to be impressed. “When I was their age, I wasn’t even close to what they are doing,” she says. “These kids are making such an impact in our communities.”
As the tournament grows, Quinn says the focus of the event remains grounded in her father’s passion for the sport. “It’s about the kids playing hockey, it’s nothing more than that. We want them to love the game. This tournament gives them the experience to love the game and love to play.”
Photo: Kalli Quinn and Burnaby Firefighters at the 2023 Pat Quinn Classic
Photo Credit: Sam Corea