When Quinton Burns’ phone rang on June 4, everything seemed almost too perfect. The call was from Kingston Frontenacs General Manager and Head Coach Paul McFarland, who told the left-handed defenceman that he was the newest selection of the Kingston Frontenacs.
Sitting on the couch with his family, the 16-year-old could not quite believe it. “It was an honour and a dream come true,” said Burns, of being selected in the second round of the 2021 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection. “I was hoping it would be the Frontenacs. It was one of those things that you didn’t think would happen, but it ended up happening.”
Growing up in Smith Falls, Ontario, a community under 100 kilometres away, getting drafted by Kingston was as close to home as he could have imagined. While Burns did not grow up in Kingston, he has already worn black and gold in his young hockey career playing for the Greater Kingston Frontenacs.
“We had a lot of good guys on that team; I had a good time playing in the city,” he said of his minor Frontenacs experience, but nothing excites him more than the idea of getting to pull on the Fronts OHL jerseys.
With Smith Falls in between Kingston and Ottawa, the young defender has seen many Frontenacs games and Ottawa 67’s games growing up. While going to 67’s games is in the rearview mirror, he is excited to write the next chapter of his life in Kingston.
For most OHL rookies, the concept of moving away and into a billet household is daunting. Kids as young as 15-years-old move out and into new surroundings, and often new schools. Moving cities is not an easy thing for anyone, let alone a young hockey player.
However, Burns is quite pleased to be able to head to Kingston. I have so many friends that live there, so it’s going to make that transition easier,” he said, looking towards the future. “I already went to the school as well, so sort of knowing what it’s like will help a lot.”
Having some familiar faces around while being a stone’s throw from home will undoubtedly help him adjust to his new life, but a crew of 2020-21 Frontenacs are already helping him feel like a part of the team. “I had a few guys call me,” he said.
On the second day of the Priority Selection, Burns got a surprise, as the Frontenacs selected his Kemptville 73’s teammate Adam Cavallin with the 124th overall pick. “He’s an awesome guy, and I’m really looking forward to hopefully playing with him in the future,” said Burns of his long-time teammate.
While Burns spent time in Kingston in the past, one of his favourite things to do in the city has nothing to do with hockey. A major golf fan, he has spent many days playing on local courses. Although a golf career is not in his future, he is very passionate about playing the sport, as well as watching it.
When Phil Mickelson won the PGA Championship in May at 51-years-old, Burns and the rest of the golf world were quite impressed. “Some of the things he’s done are pretty cool. I really like him,” said Burns, speaking of one of golf’s legends. “I try my best to emulate him when I play [golf], but I don’t think many people can be near how good he is.”
Although hockey is his primary focus, Burns has found value in playing golf, basketball and other sports, not only to escape from the daily efforts of traditional hockey activity but also to help him improve athletically. Looking up to athletes on and off the ice while pushing himself to develop in every aspect has helped Burns become the intelligent, puck-moving defenceman that attracted the Frontenacs’ eyes.
Aside from sport, his quick-thinking and upbeat personality is something that cannot be missed. A funny, talkative and easy-to-like guy, do not be surprised if he cracks a joke once and while. “I like knock-knock jokes,” he chuckled, “I try to be a pretty fun guy.”
Getting selected by the Kingston Frontenacs was all that Burns could have asked for earlier this month, as he enters the next chapter of his life with connections to the city and an admirable personality. “I’m probably going to be a bit nervous, to be honest,” he said. “I’ll be really excited and ready to go when the time comes.”