This story was published in the Fall 2022 edition of Total Sports Quinte magazine
Story by Jeff Gard/Total Sports Quinte
The Quinte Red Devils AAA Hockey Club is one of the top in the province at the triple-A level.
It’s a testament to the strength of minor hockey in the region and the development of players who are willing to put in the time and effort required to play in the Ontario Minor Hockey Association’s Eastern Triple-A loop.
“It’s amazing what the players now at all age groups can do,” said Red Devils president Tyler Longo. “They challenge themselves every single day as far as getting outside their comfort zone and the training they do on and off the ice. It shows because the things these kids are doing at say 12 years old and 18 years old are things you don’t remember seeing kids do at such a young age.”
To be competitive takes buy-in from not only the players, but families as well due to the time commitment and travel for games and practices. On top of that, the Red Devils organization provides development nights for players as well.
Older groups will be on ice with Belleville Senators assistant coaches Ben Sexton and David Bell, and head coach Troy Mann when he can attend, as well as Chris Longo, assistant coach with the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs.
Younger players have the opportunity to work with Sexton, Longo and Wellington Dukes head coach Derek Smith.
“They’re getting some awesome instruction from really high-end coaches,” Tyler Longo said. “We’re certainly lucky to get those guys to help out every year with our development program.”
As the Red Devils team return to their most normal season in a few years, a big event is returning for the organization as well. The Red Devils will host Quinte Day at the Quinte Sports & Wellness Centre on Saturday, Nov. 19 with the teams facing off against their respective Peterborough Petes AAA counterparts.
“That was also a real big event for us because we don’t always get all teams playing, number one on the same day, but also in the same rink on the same day,” Longo said, noting the U18 Red Devils will take on Peterborough in CAA Arena, home of the Senators. “They’re going to do the whole presentation like they would for the Sens, so a pretty cool experience for kids who are in their last year of triple-A.”
All players, families and sponsors will also get to attend that evening’s American Hockey League game between the Senators and Syracuse Crunch.
“We haven’t had that in a few years and we’re excited to get it back again,” Longo said of Quinte Day.
Longo anticipates another season of success for Red Devils teams.
“I know our U10 team with Geordie Nelson as the coach will be a strong group. They won the ETA championship (as U9s) last year. There’s no OMHAs at that age group.”
The U11 Red Devils this year are coached by former Belleville Bull Andrew Brown.
“They participated in the OMHAs up in Oakville so that will be a strong group as well,” Longo said. “Andrew’s made a few changes and the team seems to be off to a great start already. He’s got a nice group of players there.”
Quinte’s U12s, which won the OMHA championship last year as U11s, are coached this year by Jeanna Oke.
“They’re a team that is a lot of fun to watch, a lot of real skilled players up front and on the back end,” Longo said.
They’ve already had success this year at early season tournament in Oakville, defeating strong opponents like the Marlies from Toronto and host Oakville club.
“Always expect big things from that group,” Longo said. “They’re very talented.”
The U13 Red Devils have a new coach this year in Carey Durant who brings 20 or more years of minor hockey coaching experience.
“They’ve got a ton of talent as well,” Longo said. “We’re expecting big things from that group.”
Jeff Culhane who coached the U18 group last year is now with the U14 Red Devils, Longo noted.
“They’re always right up there in the top three teams of the ETA.”
Tyler Green is coaching the U15 Red Devils team, which Longo expects to be strong. They’ve had some early tournament success as well.
Meanwhile, the U16 Red Devils, which are in their OHL draft year, will be led by head coach Kenny Chesher along with Jeff Smith and Brock Tufts.
“They do a great job with that U16 program,” Longo said. “They play in a very good division. At that age group there really isn’t too many weak teams. They’ll be competitive and fun to watch go through the minor midget year and all the fun tournaments they’ll get to participate in.”
Todd Reid is on board to coach the U18 Red Devils, which won’t have many returning players from last year.
“Todd usually puts a pretty competitive team together whether he’s a junior coach or a minor hockey coach. They’ll be fun to watch.”
Longo added “all in all I think it will be a very successful year again” for the Red Devils teams.
Check out www.quintedevils.com
QUINTE DAY SCHEDULE
Saturday, Nov. 19 at Quinte Sports & Wellness Centre
12:30 p.m. – U14 Red Devils vs Peterborough (Mackay Insurance Pad)
1:00 p.m. – U10 Red Devils vs Peterborough (CAA Pad)
1:25 p.m. – U11 Red Devils vs Peterborough (Family Dental Centre Pad)
2:00 p.m. – U18 Red Devils vs Peterborough (CAA Pad)
2:00 p.m. – U15 Red Devils vs Peterborough (Mackay Insurance Pad)
2:55 p.m. – U12 Red Devils vs Peterborough (Family Dental Centre)
4:00 p.m. – U16 Red Devils vs Peterborough (Mackay Insurance Pad)
4:15 p.m. – U13 Red Devils vs Peterborough (Family Dental Centre)