With the fifth edition of the Pat Quinn Classic underway in Burnaby, Western Hockey League (WHL) scouts are watching the games closely in search of prospects.
“I’ve been here since the inception of the tournament and have seen a lot of players come through here over the years,” said Kerry Gladson,” the B.C. scout for the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos. “The nice thing about this tournament is the number of teams here. Between the [Bantam] elite and the triple A, we get to see a lot of teams from a lot of different areas.”
“It’s one of the last big B.C. tournaments before the end of the season,” explained Brian Lundberg, the B.C. scout for the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings. This is his fourth Pat Quinn Classic and he’s impressed with the growth of the tournament. “For me, it’s a chance to see a lot of teams that I haven’t seen, especially the American teams.”
Both scouts say their focus at the tournament is looking at the skill level of the players and how they compete. And they’ve “certainly” seen some prospects so far.
“A lot of these players have already been identified, so the Pat Quinn Classic gives us the opportunity to see them in a tournament setting, where you have to win to advance” added Gladson. “Then, we see players that we haven’t seen yet and how they stack up against the players we know. So, we can get a pretty good book on how they play.”
Lundberg praised the organization of the tournament. “For us, there’s a bunch of different arenas and we have good access to all the games. I pay attention to the statistics and scores, so the content online is fantastic.”
Over the past four years, more than 170 players in the Pat Quinn Tournament have been drafted to WHL teams.
On a personal note, Gladson met Pat Quinn and has fond memories of him at a golf tournament at UBC with the Vancouver Canucks alumni. “He was a very sociable person and had time for everyone.”
Lundberg didn’t meet Quinn but said, ‘the fact that this tournament has been named after him can only speak to a great man.”
The 2019 Pat Quinn Classic continues until December 31. This year’s tournament features three male divisions: PeeWee AAA Elite, Bantam AAA Elite and Bantam AAA and two female divisions: PeeWee AAA and Bantam AAA. The tournament schedule and results are available here. The Bill Copeland Sports Centre, in Burnaby Sport Park, is the feature rink for the tournament. Other venues include Burnaby Lake Arena, Burnaby Winter Club, Kensington Arena and Burnaby 8 Rinks.