Edmonton Rush defenseman Jimmy Quinlan has retired after a nine-year playing career and will join the team's coaching staff. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
The Edmonton Rush have announced the retirement of defenseman and captain Jimmy Quinlan, who was the longest-serving member of the team.
Quinlan formally announced his retirement today, but will remain on the Rush bench for the 2014 National Lacrosse League season as he takes over the duties of Assistant Coach, Defensive. The Sherwood Park native will replace defensive coach Devan Wray, who leaves the team due to family commitments.
“Deciding to walk away from the game of lacrosse was not an easy choice, but the opportunity to move into a coaching role is something I have always wanted to do which makes the decision easier,” Quinlan said.
Quinlan joined the Rush for the team’s inaugural season after one year with the Toronto Rock, and went on to become the Rush’s Captain for his final two years with the team. He also finishes his career as the second-leading scorer in team history with 219 points. Quinlan’s lone goal in the 2013 campaign allowed him to reach the 100-career goal plateau. He also finishes with 119 assists in the Rush’s black and silver, and ends his nine-year career with 229 regular-season points, 544 loose balls, eight points in seven playoff games, and a pair of NLL All-Star Game appearances.
"It's said that one door may close but another opens and this is certainly the case with Jimmy," said Rush general manager and head coach Derek Keenan
“I will miss Quinlan’s fire and leadership on the floor and in the locker room. However I look forward to working with him on the coaching side.”
“Devan Wray did a great job with our defense in his two years with the Rush , there is big shoes to fill but I have 100% confidence Quinlan will make an easy transition to coaching.”
Far beyond his point totals Quinlan will be remembered for his competitive spirit, leadership, and gamesmanship. After four seasons anchoring the Rush’s offensive attack that included career-highs for goals (23), assists (32), and points (55) in 2007, Quinlan took it upon himself to supply greater depth to the Edmonton defensive corps by switching positions from forward to transition.
Quinlan’s fiery nature brought the best out of his teammates, and he went to battle for many of them in heated altercations. Many nights, Quinlan left Rexall Place and arenas around the NLL sporting bumps, bruises, black eyes, and scraped knees. Despite putting his body on the line every night, Quinlan played in 133 of 134 total regular-season and playoff games in eight seasons with the Rush.
“The minute I was awarded the team, it was without a doubt we wanted local lacrosse player Jimmy Quinlan on the Rush roster,” said team owner Bruce Urban.
“Quinlan will be remembered as a great captain for the Rush. I thank Jimmy for his many nights of passion, dedication and leadership on the floor, the organization and Rush fans will celebrate his playing career and further celebrate his success as a coach in the future years of the Rush.”
Perhaps the most memorable of Quinlan’s actions came during the Rush’s first-ever playoff appearance in 2010. After being up most of the night and seeing the birth of his first child, Quinlan raced from Edmonton to Calgary just in time for the faceoff, and the Rush went on to post a stunning victory over the defending champion Roughnecks in the West Semi-Final.
“I would like to thank my beautiful wife Shelby, and my daughter Gracie for encouraging me to follow my passion and dream. I would also like to thank my family for all of the support they have given me throughout my career, support that has spanned over 25 years of playing lacrosse.
My friends in the city have also encouraged me in many ways, and I am grateful for having so many supportive people around me. I feel very fortunate to have been able to play so many years in the city I grew up in and would like to thank Bruce Urban and the Edmonton Rush for providing me with that opportunity.
A thank you is also due to all of my current and former teammates and coaches who always made coming to the arena enjoyable. Lastly, I would like to thank the dedicated Edmonton Rush fans who always made it fun and exciting to play in Edmonton.
I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead as I embark on a new chapter in my career.”
A formal retirement ceremony during the 2014 season will be announced shortly for the Rush captain.