Every once in awhile, a player emerges on the scene as an unlikely fan favorite. He joins the organization, captures the hearts of many (for a plethora of reasons) and earns himself a cult-like following. In recent Capitals history, one player that comes to mind when discussing folk heroes is Quintin Laing. Laing was an unlikely call-up during the 2007-2008 season who quickly gained a following by throwing his body in front of everything that came his way, and his efforts were never unnoticed by his teammates.
He defeated swine flu, played a game with a torn spleen, and even shattered his jaw blocking a shot with his face. As gruesome and frustrating as his injuries/ailments were, he always handled them with class, downplayed the severity (remember that “jaw-wired-shut” interview?), and returned to playing shape more quickly than anyone thought possible.
As much as Laing was loved by players, coaches, and fans alike – there was simply no room for him in Washington for the 2010-2011 season. And to the shock of us all, come opening day, his name wasn’t listed on any NHL or AHL roster. Laing resurfaced on October 27th, 2010, when the ECHL’s Victoria Salmon Kings announced that they had signed Quintin for the 2010-2011 season. On one hand, it was good to see him playing hockey – any kind of hockey. It was good to see Laing landed a job and was doing what he loved. On the other hand, it was still unbelievable that no one in the AHL had a spot for him.
His ECHL stint didn’t last long, however, and by November 11th, just 15 days after joining the Salmon Kings, the Abbottsford Heat of the AHL signed Laing to a PTO. This past Monday, January 3rd, the Abbotsford Heat announced that they had named Quintin Laing as their new Captain. Of the honor, Q stated “(Captaincy) is something I take very seriously. I want to make sure I’m an ambassador of the team on and off the ice. It’s about being a good leader and a good communicator with the coach and assistants. It’s… a huge privilege.”
So, we wish you the best of luck, Quintin, and we’re glad to see that you’re being recognized for everything that made you so popular in the Washington and Hershey organizations.
Sticktap to Siena Slusser for providing us with the picture of Laing.