With his hopes for an N.H.L. career dashed, Quinn fell into a funk, drank beer and gained weight. One night his mother came to him crying and asked, “What happened to you?”
“Right there I realized you can have your pity party for a while, but eventually you have to dust yourself off,” he recalled in 2016.
Quinn turned to coaching, working his way through the college ranks, serving as Parker’s assistant in the 2000s. He then joined the Colorado Avalanche as head coach of their A.H.L. affiliate and spent one season as assistant with the N.H.L. club before succeeding Parker in 2013.
In Quinn’s second season, with Eichel, the future No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft, in the lineup, B.U. reached the national championship game. The Terriers led Providence College, 3-2, in the third period when their goalie dropped the puck out of his glove and it trickled into the net. Stunned, B.U. gave up another goal and lost, 4-3.
Quinn admits the loss still haunts him.
The 2017-18 season probably represented his finest coaching job. Although loaded with talent, the team was 8-11-1 on Jan. 6. But Quinn pushed his team not to lose faith, said Bernie Corbett, the Terriers’ radio broadcaster and a longtime friend of Quinn’s. B.U. finished 22-14-4, won the Hockey East title, and won one game in the N.C.A.A. tournament.
“The job he did, conveying to the team that they could make a run, that they were the best team in Hockey East — it was magnificent,” Corbett said.
Asked in his early hours with the Rangers if he felt it was his destiny to become a hockey coach after his playing career was cut short, Quinn briefly mulled his response.
“I don’t know if it was destiny, but it was certainly a passion once I started doing it,” he said. “I thought to myself it would be pretty cool to have that type of impact on people’s lives, helping them become better hockey players and better people.”