Gary McQuaid, a former Nelson Leafs player and coach who helped lead the team through two of its finest regular seasons, has passed away at age 79.
Born in Ottawa, McQuaid played forward for the Senior Nelson Maple Leafs from 1966 to 1969, during which he won a Savage Cup in 1967.
McQuaid left to play one season as a player-coach in Holland, two seasons in Calgary and another with a semi-pro team in Des Moines, Iowa before returning to the Leafs from 1973 to 1977.
His coaching tenure began with the Castlegar Rebels junior team in 1985-86, after which he moved once again back to Nelson where he co-coached the team with Ted Hargreaves from 1987 to 1991.
McQuaid and Hargreaves lead the Leafs two division championships in the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons, during which they finished with an accumulative record of 76-7-2.
McQuaid later served as a Nelson Minor Hockey coach for teams at the peewee, bantam and midget rep levels. He also led the West Kootenay Wildcats to a provincial midget female championship during the 2006-07 season.