By Ross Forman
“My grandpa was extremely influential in my career because he was a successful player and coach himself. I have his state championship trophy in my room to this day,” Quinn said. “Also, my oldest cousin, Shane Quinn, is my role-model. I loved watching his games every year when he came from St. Louis for (various) tournaments.
“These two people are the biggest reasons for who I am today.”
And that is, one of the state’s best forwards.
“We not only look for Brett to put the puck in the net, but also solidify himself as one of the top two-way players in the state,” said Glenbard head coach Jason Hawkins. “We look for Brett to help lead this team (to) another deep playoff run.”
Quinn, 17, who lives in Glen Ellyn, is a senior at Glenbard West. He is a three-year varsity skater for co-op Glenbard, in jersey No. 98. He primarily centers, but has seen time at wing, too.
Quinn played youth hockey for the Glen Ellyn Admirals, a program filled with “great staff and coaches that really knows how to develop young players,” he said. “Last season was great. The team bonded and we had the same end-goal in mind: (to) get to the United Center,” Quinn said. “I ended up having great success during the year with my linemates Zach Lupori and Sam Ruffolo. Although we came up short in the title game, losing in double overtime, we all enjoyed the fans (who) supported us throughout the year, the coaching staff for believing in us, and each other for bonding as one and going through the ups and downs together.”
Glenbard fell in the final game of the season last year to arch-rival Waubonsie Valley.
Glenbard hasn’t forgotten that loss.
“My most memorable moment from last season (was) playing in the state championship at the United Center. It was such a great atmosphere with all the fans, (the) lights and just playing on the same ice as all the NHL players (do). The Blackhawks staff and everyone involved did a great job making us feel welcome and making it seem as if we were NHL players for the day.
“Last season is a huge motivator (this season), not only (for) the returners, but (for) the new guys, too. Everyone wants to be a part of the team to win the state title. Every new guy on the team this year was at the UC and saw all the fans and everything from outside the glass. Now they all have that urge to make sure they get a chance to be on that ice and show everyone why Glenbard deserves the title this year.”
Glenbard, with 11 skaters and a goalie promoted from last season’s JV Black team, certainly is a title-contender this season for the Combined Division crown.
“I’m really liking the team this year,” Quinn said. “I believe we have what it takes to make it back to the UC. We have a good number of returning players who can help lead the new guys. Sam Ruffolo and I are the only three-year varsity (skaters) on the team, so we continually stress hard work during practice. We know what it feels like to put in hard work during the season and have great success. We also know how it feels to come up short in the state playoffs twice in a row.
“The goal for this season is to get back to the UC and bring the title back to Glenbard.”
Glenbard’s lineup features defensemen Will Nelson and Nick Lavaty, plus Ryan Treanor.
Trevor Metz will be an offensive key, as he replaces Lupori on the line with Ruffolo and Quinn. They already have chemistry, Quinn said.
“Every player on this team is capable of helping bring us back to the UC,” Quinn said. “This team is unique. We have guys coming together from multiple teams and organizations. Everyone has the same end-goal of winning a state title. We also have the motivation from the ending of last season to strengthen us and push us forward.
“Glenbard has the skill, work ethic and determination to get back to the United Center. We have a lot of experienced guys on this team who can take control and make sure the younger guys are all on the same page. Glenbard has a great coaching staff which will continue to focus on the team aspect throughout the season to ensure we can take down whoever stands in (our) way during state playoffs.
“We have all the pieces to the puzzle. Glenbard just needs to play its game and put the nerves to the side and realize that you have one game to give it (our) all. We have guys on this team that know the feeling of losing at the UC and none of us want that feeling again. Glenbard has won (state) twice before and it’s time to once again bring the title back where it belongs – with Glenbard.”
A win at the UC next March would be Quinn’s first state title.
“My style of play is fast, quick-thinking,” he said. “I love to have the puck on my stick as much as possible, but I will find the open guy if he has a better chance to score. My style of play maximizes scoring chances while minimizing opposing chances. When I’m on the ice I’m always the hardest working. I go into corners to make sure the breakout is smooth and keep the puck moving in the offensive zone.”
Quinn’s shining moment in a Glenbard jersey was scoring with less than 3 minutes to play in the third period of the state championship game. “I came in wide by myself with two defenders in front of me,” he said. “I made a move through the first one and ended up falling to one knee. I was able to turn my body enough to fling home the game-tying goal through the Waubonsie goalie’s five-hole. I’ve never heard so much screaming and cheering in my life. I will never forget that moment.”
Another memorable moment for Quinn was scoring a triple-overtime game-winner against Latin School of Chicago in last season’s state quarterfinals.
“It was amazing to see everyone celebrate (that) moment,” he said. “It was truly a team victory.
“(That) goal kept the state run alive and woke everyone up. It showed us that any team is capable of winning and (was the motivation) needed before taking on Maine in the semifinals.”
He also scored the first goal in the state semifinal last season against Maine Township.
Quinn is still undecided on his college plans for next fall.
And 10 years from now?
“I’m not sure where I see myself in 10 years, but hopefully I have some type of business degree (and am working in) a great job at a company I enjoy (working for).”
Slapshots With … Glenbard Senior Brett Quinn
Favorite NHL Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Favorite NHL Player: Austin Matthews
Favorite Sport (other than hockey): Football
Favorite Pro Athlete: Tiger Woods
Favorite app: Instagram
Favorite TV show: Survivor
Favorite Movie: Dodgeball
Favorite Pregame Meal: Pasta with Italian sausage in a marinara sauce.
Favorite Pregame Motivational Song: Dreams and Nightmares by Meek Mill
Favorite Sports Movie: Miracle
The 2020 Stanley Cup Will Be: Tampa Bay Lightning
Best High School Jersey (other than Glenbard): Loyola
Ross Forman has written about Illinois high school hockey for more than 15 years and is the only sportswriter to have covered Illinois High School hockey every year during that stretch. He played locally and then at Indiana University before becoming a referee. Ross was a referee for the State Championship game several years ago at the United Center. Contact Ross by email at Rossco814@aol.com.