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Stamford SportsBeat: Connecticut's Goalie

CT native Jonathan Quick helps the LA Kings reach the Stanley Cup Finals.

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He was born in Milford, learned about hockey in Hamden, and prepped at , but right now, is a professional athlete whom everyone in Connecticut is proudly calling their own. On Tuesday night, the 25-year old goalie helped the Los Angeles Kings secure a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1993.

"It's a huge, huge deal for Jonathan and all of us," said Todd Hall, an assistant coach at since 2002. "Nobody could've predicted that he'd have success like this in the NHL. He's a special player and to see him get to the Stanley Cup Finals is a tremendous accomplishment."

Hall, a former professional hockey player in the New York Rangers organization, joined the hockey staff at Hamden High School during Quick's sophomore year. He knew immediately that Quick had what it took to get to the NHL.

"I just got done playing in Hartford and still could shoot the puck pretty well," Hall said. "If I did get one past Jonathan, he'd push the puck back to me and say, 'try to do it again.' He hated when anyone scored on him, but when they did, Jonathan would gain more focus and not lose it, which happens to a lot of goalies."

Quick left Hamden High School after his sophomore year and transferred to Avon Old Farms where he posted nine shutouts during his senior season. The exposure and coaching at the prestigous prep school helped Quick land a scholarship to UMass.

“I told him you got it all going in the right direction,” John Gardner, longtime coach of Avon Old Farms told the Middletown Press last week. “The only person that could stop him is him. It’s hard to tell at that time, but I had a feeling he’d be a really great player.”

Connecticut legends (Cheshire) and (Trumbull) authored brilliant NHL careers and had their names etched on the  Stanley Cup. Now, the light is shining brightly on Quick as he gets to play on the sport's biggest stage.

"It's really unbelievable," said Ryan Haggerty, a Stamford native who just finished playing his freshman season at RPI. "I've skated with Quick during the past few summers at the and he's really a great guy. To make it to the Stanley Cup Finals is amazing and its great to see someone from Connecticut do it."

Quick is coming off one of the best seasons for a goalie in NHL history. He recorded a franchise-best 10 shutouts and his 1.95 goals against average made him a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the best goalie in the league. Darien native , who plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning and works out with Quick in the summer, realized long ago that Quick had the ingredients to be successul.

"Watching Quick become one of the best goalies in the world isn't a surprise," said Shannon, who prepped at The Taft School. "He's a great athlete and a tough competitor. And the guy is hard to score on in summer hockey, too."

For the last two off-season, Quick has worked out with Jay Mountain, a personal trainer who has a facility in Westport. Mountain works with many NHL players who summer in Connecticut and he's elated that all the hard work paid off for Quick.

"I've seen his dedication and commitment," says Mountain, who owns and operates FAST fitness. "He always works really, really hard and wants to get better. Jonathan really earned this.  I'm really happy for him. To make it to the Stanley Cup Finals is a truly phenomenal."

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