Why UMass should retire Jonathan Quick’s number

By Peter Cappiello


Jonathan Quick’s mantle has more hardware than Home Depot, but the Milford, Conn., native is lacking a distinct accolade—a retired number.

After taking home the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, along with being a front-runner for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the league’s best goaltender, the 6-foot-1, 214-pound netminder has quickly solidified himself as an NHL elite and the greatest hockey player to ever come out of the University of Massachusetts.

Called “truly phenomenal” by The Great One, Wayne Gretzky, Quick has led the Los Angeles Kings to their first-ever Stanley Cup championship, ending a 45-year winless streak by edging the NHL’s all-time winningest goalie, Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils in six games, becoming the first eighth seed in NHL history to take home Lord Stanley and the first team to hoist the holy grail of hockey on home ice since the 2007 Anaheim Ducks.

After a marathon of a series, Los Angeles fans are finally rejoicing, as playoff beards are victoriously shaven throughout the West Coast and in the Pioneer Valley, thanks to the man in pads known as “Quickie.”

Sporting No. 29 while in Amherst, Quick led the Minutemen to their only NCAA tournament appearance and finished his time in Massachusetts with a record of 23-22-6 in 54 appearances, while posting three shutouts with a 2.39 goals-against-average and a .925 save-percentage. He was even credited with a goal against Merrimack after being the last player to touch the puck before it went into the Warriors’ empty net.

Quick decided to make the jump to the King’s AHL affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs, after two collegiate seasons in order to “pursue [his] lifelong dream,” which he has now achieved five years later with the help of teammates like Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs leading goal scorer, captain Dustin Brown.

While the Cinderella-story cliché is often thrown around haphazardly, this year’s Los Angeles squad fit the mold perfectly, rising from the league’s basement to become the star attraction at the final dance.

While all the puzzle pieces were present during the regular season, the Kings were second-to-last in scoring after playing all 82 games. Come playoff time, while the goaltending remained superb, coach Darryl Sutter’s group transformed into the goal-scoring machine their fans wished for, thanks in large part to explosive play by Kopitar, Brown, and new additions, including forwards Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.

The 2011-2012 NHL season saw Quick, now wearing No. 32, make history by setting records throughout the hockey world. Aside from becoming Massachusetts’ only Cup winner, he also became the university’s first NHL All-Star. Quick recorded his 100th career NHL win this season, led the league with 10 shutouts, and added three more in the postseason.

The 26-year-old, who is signed with Los Angeles until 2013 has represented the Kings, UMass, his hometown and his community extremely well, having participated in charity games and becoming the co-creator the 326 Foundation with his brother-in-law and former Kings teammate Matt Moulson, who is a currently a forward for the New York Islanders. Quick donates $500 for each of his wins while Moulson donates the same amount every time he scores a goal.

With his stellar regular season and playoff numbers combined, Quick will pledge $25,500 to the fund, which will distribute a grand total of over $40,000 between the Kings Care Foundation and the Islanders Children’s Foundation.

The 326 Foundation was also aided by the Los Angeles Kings Booster Club, which made a cash donation after presenting the “Most Popular Player” award to the former Massachusetts star. In addition, Quick was named “Most Inspirational Player” by his teammates, and was awarded the Kings’ “Most Valuable Player” award, as voted on by the media.

Jonathan Quick embodies UMass Athletics’ mission statement by “serving as a rallying point for the UMass community.”

With the athletics program gaining a national spotlight thanks to the prowess of successful alums like Quick and New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, an equally intense focus is due from the university by honoring athletes who put UMass Athletics on the map.

Displaying “good citizenship, character, personal growth,” and high “ethical standards,” along with historic athletic excellence, Quick has proven himself to be deserving of the honor of becoming the first Minutemen hockey player to find his name at the top of the mountain—the hallowed rafters of the William D. Mullins Memorial Center.

Peter Cappiello can be reached for comment at [email protected]