Jump to content

David O'Quinn - A Family Man [2/2]

David O'Quinn

Recommended Posts

This is the Biography of VHLM defenseman David O'Quinn, with stories and facts gathered from various interviews, peoples who knew and know Dave, and Dave himself.


Cape Breton County, N.S.

"Dave has been the same great man ever since the day I laid my own eyes upon him", said Dave's wife, lovingly. As I started this journey to document Dave's life, I knew the first place I had to go was to his home. I'm not sure I had ever seen Dave take off his wedding ring in all the years I had known him, and I knew he must have been close to his wife. 


As I inquired about Dave's early life, his wife, who wished to stay unnamed, paused. 'Dave didn't grow up easy. Growing up in the 50's, there were a lot of bad practices considered the norm at the time', she said, cautiously. 'One, though no one's fault, was birth control. Dave grew up with a sister, and seven brothers, himself being the firstborn. That makes one's childhood scarce, never getting money from his parents, being forced to pass down all his clothing, feeling the attention he got from his parents slowly dissipate to his siblings.' 


This was a story common to the era, and though being the firstborn certainly wasn't the worse Scenario Dave could have faced, it had it's disadvantages. His parents were strict with him above everyone else, often treating him unfairly. Despite this treatment, he also had to act like a third parent to all of his brothers, and his sister.


'I think it was good for him though, at the end of the day,' Mrs. O'Quinn said, with a smile. 'I had read your rookie report on Dave, and it gave me a chuckle. It seemed to me you had almost described what Dave's childhood as a big brother had done to him, making him the leader he is, without knowing it.' I was quite shocked, that his wife had found the article I wrote about Dave, with how obscure it had seemed to be. 'It taught him respect, discipline, and acceptance. For the respect, it was metaphorically beat into him by his parents, wanting him to be a good role model for his younger siblings." She smiled, "Discipline started the same way, but that was from himself too. He had to be disciplined with his siblings, not lashing out or getting angry at them when they did the wrong thing, or got more attention and less rules than he did. And acceptance for was when his siblings made mistakes, which be assured, they did, and he forgave them and accepted them as they were.' The smile on her face was wide and noticeable now, as you could see she enjoyed talking about the best parts about her husband, and how they came to be.


Though I talked with her for a while longer, I spent most of my remaining time getting her to corroborate other details about his life. She also had to head off to work soon, so I said my goodbye's, though I kept in contact with her, to further corroborate details about Dave's life.


The Local Hockey Hall of Fame

My next stop was at the local ice hockey rink, a building which also held the local HHOF, which Dave was a part of. I spoke to a few of his former teammates (and classmates), but they wished to stay unnamed aswell.


From what I managed to gather, Dave had a pretty easy time in school. He was smart, and very hard working. Through his schooling system, his hockey career also started. Rather late, at the age of 13, Dave had started to play hockey, and he was instantly a star in his school. In his final year of highschool, he won the local championship as the star and best player on his team. As he finished highschool, he had already met the love of his life. Just as quickly, at the age of 19, Dave and his wife and conceived their first child.


"Well, Dave was an interesting figure. He was funny, he was low-key, he was smart and he was... good. Sure, he was good at hockey, but I mean to say, he was a good boy. A good man.", said one of Dave's classmates, with a smile across his face. His highschool coach also commented; "Dave was a leader from day one. The boys joked around with Dave, since he had started skating much later than the rest of them. When he was the star of the first game he played in, they stopped laughing. But, when he played it off and credited the victory to the whole team, the team started laughing again. This time, not at Dave, but with Dave."



As Dave entered adulthood, his children took over. His Daughter, born 2 years after his Son, made this no easier. In their young years, Dave still played hockey, travelling across Canada with his team, winning 'Cape Breton's top Defenseman' twice, along with a championship. But this soon took it's toll on Dave's life. As he got more and more involved into the sport, he was less and less directly involved with his children. While he surely brought in enough money to support them, Dave came to regret all the time he had spent away from home. After talking with his wife, his team-mates, and his children, he decided to abandon the sport professionally. Though he missed his sport, he kept himself involved enough to sate his appetite: Dave took up management of the local rink, 'The Forum', enabling and coaching junior teams, holding concerts, including the then-unknown April Wine, and school dances. It was different, but he loved it.


As his children got older, he found himself with less free time. Much of his time was spent on vacation, between his wife and his two children. With his wife and two children he traveled to theme-parks across Canada and the U.S.A, while his travels with his wife alone covered Spain, New York, and Florida. When he wasn't busy travelling or raising the two little loves of his life, the most important things in his world. When he wasn't worrying about this, he was busy managing long-term investments, and skating, trying to not lose what he had once had.


Finally, when his children had entered their early teens, Dave had a desire to re-educate himself to be able to better support his family. Dave found his opportunity at the local University-College, the University College of Cape Breton, though the opportunity that would truly show itself was not the one he had expected. He signed up for a general business program, as he had a smart mind for such a thing. As he had started to spend so much time at UCCB, Dave decided to join the college's team. Why not?


A return to hockey

This was the opportunity that Dave would later capitalize on. He made the UCCB's team, as he had in highschool, attaining stardom immediately. I interviewed the team's then-star forward.

"Dave was something else. Maybe he was a bit slow, a bit rusty at first. But you knew, you knew he was special right away. From the way he acted like a second coach to his younger teammates (Dave had been 33 at the time, one of the oldest players on the team), to how he stole the spotlight, even from me, every night." As it had been with everyone who had spoke about Dave, nothing but a smile of sincerity covered their face.  




This is where Dave found his true opportunity. While he absolutely excelled in the classroom, being very intelligent and hard working, he was the player to watch all across Canada, and he was rewarded highly for it. After a long season, and tough playoffs, Dave and the UCCB Capers won the Canada-wide College tournament. Additionally, Dave won the the tournament MVP, and was named as the best College athlete in all of Canada that year. But this isn't where it ended. Two years later, still playing for the Capers, Dave was officially invited to try out for Team Canada, to play in the Olympics. But that's where Dave broke. While Dave loved playing his sport again, and he loved winning again, but he wasn't ready to leave his children, and his home, to play for his country. It was a great honor, once in a lifetime, but he declined.


At the end of his fourth year at UCCB, he finished his business program. It served him well, as he took full responsibility for The Forum, fiances and all, leaving him with free time for his children. He again dropped his activity in the sport he adored to give everything he could to the children he loved. He had lost his sport again.



In recent times, Dave has had much of his free time returned to him. With so much free time, and his children leaving home within the next few years, Dave found himself golfing and skating. An opportunity he had long thought gone came to him, in his boredom and thought. Dave's friend, now agent, informed him that the Saskatoon Wild of the VHLM, and the VH League Conglomerate as a whole, was willing to offer him a chance to play. Through many months of deliberation, with his wife, and more importantly to him, his kids, he decided to take on the opportunity. The money he would earn would give his children opportunities that he never could have provided them, at such an instrumental point during their lives. Additionally, he got to play against opponents of a skill level unlike anything he had ever faced. He said yes. 



This was reporter, and friend of Dave's, Roger Pennies. Putting together this biography, under the supervision of his wife, was a great honor and pleasure. Dave is a truly great man, and i'm excited to see where his career heads next. I hope Dave will continue carrying what he learned with his brothers, his children, and his sport with him throughout these next eight years. If he does, he may become a legendary player not just in Cape Breton, or Canada, but worldwide. 

Edited by JohnOQuinn
forgot to add :)
Link to comment
Share on other sites


Wow, what a story! Dave seems like the kind of guy you'd love to talk to over a beer and hear a tale or two. 


Ups and downs, extinguishing and rekindling his love affair with the sport, and all decisions made with his kids interests in mind. 


A very unique take on a player bio, whereas many approach the concept as a fresh young buck just starting their adult life, you've framed Dave as a man that has been there, done that, ready to show the kids how it's done in the VHLM.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • DollarAndADream changed the title to David O'Quinn - A Family Man [1/2]



I liked how you wrote this from the eyes of a reporter rather than from the player himself. 

It is very sound and well written material. I do think some more photos to help illustrate the story a bit better would have been good.


Overall though - A+

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • DollarAndADream changed the title to David O'Quinn - A Family Man [2/2]

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...