No sport has sent so many Rhode Island representatives to big-time sports more than hockey.
From the Bennett brothers to Brian Lawton, Keith Carney and Rob Gaudreau, Bryan Berard and so many others, the stories of kids who grew up in Cumberland or Warwick and skated all the way into the NHL are well-told.
One story that’s still unfolding is that of David Quinn. The Edgewood native didn’t sign up to follow the Mount Saint Charles pipeline in the 1980’s but was a first round pick of the Minnesota North Stars and seemingly bound to play in the NHL.
A hidden blood disorder robbed Quinn of a spot on the 1988 U.S. Olympic team and eventually prematurely ended his career.
However hockey was clearly in Quinn’s bones. He chose to follow the coaching route and has enjoyed great success. He followed his coach at Boston University, the legendary Jack Parker, for five seasons and is now the coach of the New York Rangers.
That post brings a major challenge but Quinn’s team showed marked improvement last season before the pandemic shut things down in March. Now in year three, the Rangers have hopes to make the playoffs and showcase some of the better young players in the NHL.
Quinn took some time to discuss his Rhode Island roots, the end of his playing days and the challenges of NHL coaching just before the Rangers opened training camp this week.