Ahead of Canada’s gold medal game at the 2021 World Junior Championship against the USA, residents in the Ottawa Valley are cheering for more than just game.
Stalwart goaltender Devon Levi and Cobden native Jack Quinn are both looking to realize their junior hockey dream.
Levi earned his chance to represent Team Canada following his stellar performance with the Carleton Place Canadians. In his only year with the team, during the 2019/2020 season, Levi posted a record of 34-2-1.
“For me, to see him where he is right now is not surprising to me, but he has surprised a lot of people in the country,” says Jason Clarke, Head Coach and General Manager of the Canadians. “The thing that separates Devon from a lot of goaltenders and hockey players I’ve been around in the game is his mental preparation and how he conducts himself away from the rink.”
Canada’s #1 now plays for Northeastern University in the NCAA. Despite only spending a single season in Carleton Place, Levi’s former coach says the community already shares an immense pride for the star goaltender.
“Our whole community, league, and country is really proud of how Devon has played and I think that’s what is most important,” says Clarke. “There’s a huge connection here in our community for Devon. He just did a great job on the ice, but also did a wonderful job off the ice when he was a Carleton Place Canadian, which is something that we’re very proud of.”
Cobden residents know the name Jack Quinn all too well. The valley native has spent his entire hockey career in the national capital region, playing for local minor teams like the Upper Ottawa Valley Aces and the Kanata Lasers, before being drafted by the Ottawa 67’s. It was his dominant performances in the OHL that got him drafted eighth overall by the Buffalo Sabres, and earned him a place on Team Canada.
Mixed in with those big name teams, Quinn also spent the first two years of high school playing for his school team at St. Joseph’s in Renfrew.
“We quickly realized that Jack Quinn is an athlete first,” says Stacey McGregor, St. Joseph’s hockey coach and math teacher. “It doesn’t matter what sport he plays, he’s got an inner drive to be the best at it.”
Despite showing exceptional talent at a young age, McGregor says Quinn never got too big for his small town roots, crediting his parents.
“As we say in the Valley, they’re salt of the earth, and he’s just a good kid.”
“He’s loved at our school,” says McGregor, remembering how Quinn would offer to help younger students and players in his spare time. “All the teachers have always had an extremely positive experience. We’re all proud that Jack attended our school.”
Heading into the gold medal game against the Americans there were some nerves for McGregor, but there was certainly no losing for the Ottawa Valley no matter the outcome.
“We’ve been really looking forward to this,” says McGregor, “and having a local boy playing, it’s just icing on the cake.”