In a game as fast and fluid as ice hockey, quickness is a key attribute. Especially if you’re a goaltender.
For Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, his speed is not only distinguished in his last name, but also by his rapid rise up to the upper echelons of professional hockey.
The Milford, Conn., native took his place between the pipes as a 7-year-old, just two years after strapping on skates for the first time.
“I started playing hockey at 5 and was never a super strong skater, so I thought I could try goalie, and I haven’t really looked back since,” recalls the 24-year-old.
After a brief time at perennial prep powerhouse Hamden High School, Quick made the jump to the Avon Old Farms Prep School, where he led the squad to back-to-back New England Prep Championships his junior and senior years. In his final season he recorded nine shutouts — a New England prep school record — catching the eye of both university coaches and professional scouts.
Despite being drafted in the third round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Kings, Quick chose the college route, attending the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. After starting 13 games his freshman year, Quick became the go-to netminder during his sophomore campaign, amassing 2,224 minutes and a .920 save percentage. That same season he backstopped the Minutemen to their first ever NCAA appearance, upsetting Clarkson University before falling to Maine in the East Regional Finals.
Quick joined the NHL ranks after two seasons with UMass, spending much of 2007-08 splitting time between the Reading Royals of the East Coast Hockey League and the King’s top minor league affiliate in Manchester before earning a permanent spot with L.A. in 2008-09.
Jonathan Quick #32
Los Angeles Kings
“Playing in the ECHL made me really step my game up,” says Quick, who became only the second goaltender in ECHL history to earn a shutout victory and score a goal in the same game.
“I knew that if I wanted to earn that roster spot [in the NHL] I would have to improve and really push myself to make that next jump.”
Now entering his third NHL season in Los Angeles, Quick’s swift glove has earned him the starting nod and recognition among the league, ranking third among goaltenders in wins the past two seasons. But it isn’t personal stats that make Quick tick.
“It’s about team success,” he says. “If I’m playing well but we’re not winning games, it doesn’t mean anything. Last year we [the Kings] had a franchise record for season points, but my numbers weren’t that great. That doesn’t bother me one bit since we had the team success; that’s what’s important.”
That same team success led the Kings to a third-place finish in the Pacific Division and their first playoff berth since 1992-93.
“Playoffs are a completely different game,” Quick says. “That was a one-game series [with Vancouver]. Win one game, make it to the next round, lose one game and it makes it that much harder.
“It’s a whole different mindset; you’re going into it expecting to play seven games against the same team night after night. You have to make little adjustments. Whoever can adapt the best will end up winning the series.”
Although the Kings fell to the Canucks in six games for an early exit from the post-season, Quick still got a taste of a championship run on the international level, being selected as one of three goaltenders to represent USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
“It meant a lot to me to be selected as part of that team,” he says. “There were a lot of goalies and a lot of top players to choose from, but it meant a great deal that USA hockey thought enough of me. We came one goal away from winning the gold medal and it was an honor to be a part of the whole thing.”
At just 24 and already an anchor on the Kings defense, Quick has risen up the ranks in a manner befitting of his name.
hometown: Rochester, Minn.
A hockey puck, a tennis ball and math homework have very little in common, but for Jessie Aney the similarities are that she excels at all three.
Athletically, Aney is an example of USA Hockey’s American Development Model, splitting her time between both hockey and tennis, where she competes on a national scale in both sports.
On the ice, Aney was the leading scorer and MVP with Team Reebok at the International Cup this past August and currently ranks 13 in the nation on the tennis courts in the U.S. Tennis Associations 12-and-under rankings.
Aney was also a member of the state championship team for the Math Masters of Minnesota. If that doesn’t keep the middle schooler busy enough, she also gives back to the community by volunteering at a nursing home and making care packages for soldiers overseas.
All of these achievements combined to earn Aney the Sports Illustrated SportKid of the Year award.