|Forward Quinton Howden is playing in his first full pro season after four years in juniors. (Darren Abate / San Antonio Rampage Photographer)|
After standout junior hockey campaigns for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League, Florida Panthers prospect Quinton Howden is enjoying his first full season of pro hockey with the San Antonio Rampage.
After a slow start, the winger has started to find the scoresheet on a consistent basis as he is tied for third on the team in scoring with 11 points in 21 games. Howden describes his game as one of “size and speed” with a hard work ethic to make the players around him better.
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on Jan. 21, 1992, the Howden family would move to Calgary when Howden was still young, and return to Manitoba in 2003, to the town of Oakbank, where Howden calls home today.
“Growing up in Oakbank was phenomenal. It’s a small town where everyone knows each other,” said Howden. “Growing up there, me and my friends were always outside doing things. Throwing footballs, frisbee and biking around all the time.”
Howden comes from a close family. The oldest of four children, the Howden clan consists of father, Sheldon, mother, Krystal, along with Quinton (20), sisters Jayda (18) and Danaka (16) and brother Brett (15).
“In my household we were always home,” says Howden. “We would do things as a family”.
Howden first became interested in hockey when he was young, watching it at home on TV and skating on outdoor ponds. It wasn’t long until Howden laced up his skates and started to play, where his dream of being a player in the NHL began to blossom despite a serious bicycle accident when he was five where he broke his femur. The doctors doubted that the young Howden could play at a high level due to the accident.
He overcame that accident to become a great youth player and from 2008-2012, Howden played in the juniors as a member of Moose Jaw. He was a major presence for the Warriors during his time there, playing in 244 games and scoring 239 points (111-128-239). Howden was known for being a leader during his junior career, whether in Moose Jaw or representing his home country of Canada during the World Junior Championships. One of the most impressive accolades Howden has achieved in his junior career was winning Gold as a member of Team Canada at the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Tournament.
“Winning gold at that tournament was one of the best experiences in my life,” said Howden. “It was the first time I had ever won something like that and I really enjoyed the experience overseas.”
In 2010, his NHL dream moved one step closer to becoming a reality when he was drafted in the first round (25th overall) by the Panthers, a moment that Howden calls his “greatest hockey memory”.
Transitioning from junior hockey in Canada to professional hockey in San Antonio, Texas following the end of last season in Moose Jaw is quite an adjustment for the 20-year old forward, but something he embraces. Howden has enjoyed playing hockey in San Antonio.
“The best part of playing in San Antonio (so far) is probably the hot weather,” said Howden. “Going to the rink in shorts and flip flops every day is a definite treat.”
Aside from the southern weather, some of Howden’s favorite things in San Antonio are places like the River Walk and Sea World. But at the end of the day, hockey reigns supreme over his life in San Antonio. This season for the Rampage he plays alongside veterans who have NHL experience and could help Howden elevate his game to that level. He ranks playing alongside the older players as the best experience he’s had San Antonio to date.
Asked questions on various topics, Howden touched upon them from player to play with to favorite music among others.
Howden is a player who doesn’t really have a pre-game ritual or superstition for preparing for a game. On the ice, he likens himself to be a reliable two-way player.
“I like to try to model my game after a Patrick Marleau. To be relied upon in any situation and contribute in any way I can to the team,” said Howden.
When asked if he could play with any player, past or present, he chose a current superstar as well as one that was just inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
“It would be pretty awesome to play with (Sidney) Crosby obviously, but I think it would have been awesome to have played with Joe Sakic as well, to learn a lot from him,” said Howden.
Howden is a fan of country music, citing Toby Keith as his favorite artist. When away from the rink, his favorite things to do are golfing and being with friends and family.
The big question though? What would most fans not know about Howden?
“Something that fans might not know about me, is that I like to sing in my truck a lot,” confessed Howden.
Howden is expected to be a solid member of the San Antonio Rampage this coming season and looked forward to by Panthers fans to be seen in a Panthers uniform down the road.
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