As gambles go, this one isn’t much of a longshot.
The Prince Albert Raiders have brought Las Vegas product Gage Quinney in to spend a week with the team. The affiliate player, who by league rules can play up to 10 games with the team before he heads home, will finish the season with the Las Vegas Storm of the U.S. U-18 Tier One Elite Midget Hockey League.
The 5’11”, 180-pound left-shooting forward scored 29 goals and added 16 assists for 45 points in 39 games last season with the Phoenix Junior Coyotes Under-16 program.
He has 24 goals and 16 assists in 37 games this year.
Raiders GM Bruno Campese likes what Quinney brings.
“He’s real quick on his feet, he’s a real strong skater. I think he plays the game really hard,” Campese says. “He’s a two-way responsible player. He’s not a real nasty kid but he’s a hard player to play against. He’s got real good speed, he’s got good on-ice awareness, he handles the puck well and if his midget stats are any indication -- he’s got real good offensive numbers -- we think he has an offensive touch for the net.”
He comes by his talent honestly.
His father Ken played four seasons in the WHL with the Calgary Wranglers -- putting up 232 points in the last two years -- before playing 59 games in the NHL over three seasons with the Quebec Nordiques.
The B.C. native eventually settled in Las Vegas, where he works as a firefighter.
The Raiders saw Gage Quinney playing in a tournament in Phoenix and listed him last season.
He came to spring camp and signed a contract with the team but decided to play in Las Vegas this season for personal reasons.
One intangible he brings is the date on his birth certificate; specifically his birth year, 1995.
“It’s a very important age for us. On our roster right now we have (Josh) Morrissey and Leon (Draisaitl), two exceptional ’95s, but we need other ’95s to come in and make our hockey team next year … If he had come at the start of the year I’m pretty sure that he would have been with us.”
Quinney heads home next Tuesday. Along with school, he’s heading to a regional midget final in Alaska in early March.
The team has its 23-man roster set but any member of the affiliate list can join the Raiders after their team’s season ends.
Brendan Guhle and Matteo Gennaro’s teams might miss the post-season, so both players could possibly come up and stay for the rest of the year, Campese said. The players are brought to Prince Albert to ease their transition next season.
But this week it’s all about Quinney, Campese says.
“He’s here to spend a week with us and hopefully all goes well and he gets a taste of it and we get a taste of him and it’s a fit for next season.”