Jack Eichel has experienced firsthand what San Jose Sharks coach David Quinn can do for young players.
The now-Stanley Cup champion played for Quinn in his one and only season at Boston University.
“He is a great guy and I was able to build a great relationship with him through our connection at BU,” Eichel told San Jose Hockey Now in October. “We both still keep in touch and I think he’s just a really good person who cares a lot about the guys who play for him. He was a huge piece in getting me to the next level and I’m thankful for my time with him and what he did for not only me, but our team.”
In that 2014-15 season, Eichel came right in and scored an absurd 26 goals and 71 points in 40 games.
Boston University won its conference in both the regular season and in the tournament that year, ultimately falling in the National Championship game to Providence College.
The bond Eichel and Quinn made lasted well after the 2015 second-overall pick left for the Buffalo Sabres the following season.
They play golf together during the offseason and chat pretty regularly. They had dinner before training camp in Las Vegas.
”He plays way more golf than me,” Eichel joked. “But he’s a good golfer.”
It is pretty rare for coaches and players to have a relationship like this, but Quinn was personable enough to develop friendships with his players while still developing them.
“Now, I look at him as a friend and I just think he is a really good human being,” Eichel said.
“I look back at my time with him at BU and he taught me a lot on the ice and he’s just somebody who reaches out constantly throughout the year, and it’s not just to me, it’s to all the guys that came through BU and I think he does a great job of staying connected.”
Accidently posted this picture of Jack Eichel and David Quinn again, silly me!
Sorry everyone! pic.twitter.com/kgbr7YY9Rf
— Ryan Mead (@OhRyanMead) September 28, 2020
Even at the time — three years away from Quinn taking his first NHL job with the New York Rangers in 2018 — Eichel knew he could coach at the NHL level.
“I think the more you get to know him, the more you realized that it was pretty clear he was going to get opportunities at the next level,” Eichel said.
“It was just a matter of if he wanted to and when.”
After three years in New York, Quinn finds himself in the middle of a full-scale rebuild in San Jose.
The team is 2-11-1 and some have called his job into question after the number of blowout losses the Sharks have suffered keeps mounting.
But Eichel believes that his former coach will turn the San Jose Sharks around.
“From what I’ve heard, the guys have enjoyed playing for him and he’s trying to do everything he can to turn things around,” Eichel said.
“If there’s a guy to do it, it’d be him.”
As someone who has experienced what Quinn can do for the countless young players on the San Jose Sharks roster, Eichel wholeheartedly stands by that sentiment.
“I think he has a really good look on a lot of things greater than hockey,” Eichel said. “It doesn’t always have to be about hockey.
“For the hockey to be successful, I think there needs to be a lot of other things that go with it. He’s a guy who gets his players to compete and work for him and they enjoy coming to the rink when he’s your coach.
“He doesn’t beat things down too much in terms of coaching and he’s looking out for the players and their best interest, and I think the way he communicates his message is good.
“There are a lot of things that Quinny brings as a coach that make him successful not only in hockey, but as a person. I think those things will help them continue to build towards what they want to do.”
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