It’s a great night to be a UMass fan because the Minuteman hockey program will soon have its first player etched onto the Stanley Cup and with it etched into hockey history. And it wasn’t just some fourth liner on the winning team, Jon Quick put the Kings on his shoulders, endured the scoring woes they had throughout the season, got them in the post season and then just took over. Quick went 16-4 in the playoffs, put up a 1.41 goals against average during that time and saved .946% of the shots he faced. For all that, he was also named winner of the Conn Smythe trophy as the playoff MVP.
I’m lucky enough and proud to say I was there when a gifted but awkward Quick made his UMass debut in the fall of 2005 against Clarkson in Potsdam, New York. A year and a half later Quick, with some help from Kevin Jarman, would beat those same Golden Knights a little further west in New York, giving UMass a win in its first ever NCAA appearance. Quick came to Amherst with high expectations, being a third round draft pick and the highest profile goaltender recruit to hit the campus. And he lived up to those expectations, leading UMass to a tournament berth and being named a 2nd team All-American before departing for the pros after his sophomore year. But I’m not sure anyone could’ve predicted he would become one of the elite players at his position and help the storied Kings franchise finally get their first Stanley Cup.
UMass has a long way to go to try to match the tradition of other Hockey East and college hockey programs that they regularly go against. But having Quick out there as the face of a program that continues to produce more and more legitimate pro players is a huge step forward. The pride around the program and athletic department in general, especially coming on the heels of Victor Cruz’s Super Bowl win, is at an unbelievable level. Recent UMass hockey events, including today’s Pond Club Golf Tournament, have been dominated by talk of Quick and what his success means for the program. And UMass did have a major role in his development. But watching him as much as I have the last few months I am astounded by how much he has evolved and matured as a player. The amount of training and hard work that went into the days, months, and years leading up to tonight’s win must’ve seemed endless at times. But Quick put in the work, took on the challenge of being the best, and tonight he is.
Congratulations Quickie! Go UMass!
Keep checking back to FTT as I’ll have more on Quick’s momentous win in the days and weeks to come.