Former Jr. Duck, Jr. King Kent decides on D-I Quinnipiac
Nicholas Kent wouldn’t be where he is without his time playing hockey in Southern California.
“I had a great experience playing (there),” he said. “It helped build my foundation for my skills and my hockey awareness.”
Kent, a 2001 birth year defenseman, recently committed to NCAA Division I power Quinnipiac University (ECAC). He played last season and this season for Delta Hockey Academy in British Columbia.
“To see where he’s grown as a player is really neat,” said Anaheim Jr. Ducks director of coaches Craig Johnson.
Kent, and Johnson’s son, Ryan, another 2001 defenseman, met as Mini-Mites and played together for the next seven years on the Jr. Ducks and a season on the Anaheim Wildcats.
Johnson and Scott Niedermayer coached the boys and Niedermayer’s son, Jackson, from early on.
“I learned so much from Coach Craig and Coach Scott it would be hard to list,” Kent said. “I played for them for so long that the biggest thing that has helped me is my hockey awareness.
“Coach Scott helped me a lot with my transitions from defense to offense. I try to play a style similar to what he did.”
Committing to the Bobcats was a natural fit, said Kent, who played one season of Bantams for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings.
“I liked Quinnipiac’s coaching staff a lot, and Rand Pecknold won (Division I) coach of the year (in 2015-16,” said Kent, who compiled 21 points in 25 games with Delta’s Bantam Prep team last season. “They play a style that fits my style with a lot of quick transitions.”
Watching NHL games on television and then attending games as a young child captured Kent’s attention.
“It was exciting to watch, so I bugged my parents to let me try it out and I fell in love with it,” he said, adding that he wouldn’t trade his experiences traveling with his teammates to tournaments for anything.
“Often, we were the only California team and most of the time, we won.”
— Chris Bayee