Story/photo courtesy of Scott Roblin/CHATNewsToday. For more local sports content, please visit www.chatnewstoday.ca.
MEDICINE HAT, AB – Skating off the ice for the final time last spring, Medicine Hat Cubs captain Quinten Karg pondered where his future would take him.
While his playing days were now past, the pull of the hockey rink was too much for the 21-year-old to ignore.
That’s when the SEAC Bantam AAA Tigers came knocking, offering the newly graduated Karg a spot on their bench.
“It’s been a good transition,” said Karg. “I’ve been learning things, helping out the defence. I was a forward my hockey career, so just learning that and learning the guys’ names. I’ve been enjoying it.”
After wrapping up his minor hockey career in the SEAC system, Karg played three years for the HJHL’s Cubs and served as team captain for his last two seasons.
He finished his junior career with 13 goals and 48 points in 102 regular season games, setting the framework for a veteran-heavy Cubs team in 2019-20.
The Brooks native is now heading back to his minor hockey roots as the Bantam AAA’s assistant coach.
“Coming through I learned a lot and I’m able to pass it on,”
said Karg. “I came to the program two years ago, so I’m
able to share my knowledge with them and help them out.”
Karg joins new head coach Brayden Desjardins on the SEAC bench, a coach he has quite the history with.
While Karg was cutting his teeth with the now-defunct SEAC Midget AAA Tigers gunning for a junior spot, Desjardins was also getting his coaching career started with an assistant role on the team.
Now four years later, the pair have reconnected and are helping to further the hockey careers of this year’s crop of bantam talent.
“[Desjardins] coached me way back when I played midget,” said Karg. “He’s super smart at what he does with all the visual work, the camera. He’s an amazing coach.”
After three years at the junior level, Karg said it’s been a bit of an adjustment getting back into the flow of the game at the minor hockey level.
“Junior level, whether it’s junior ‘B’ or junior ‘A’, it’s a different speed,” he said. “You got to realize that these kids are a lot younger. They’re just learning some of the basics and you just got to be patient with them.”
The Bantam AAA squad is off to a 0-1-1 start, but are buoyed by a handful of returning players such as Dawson Seitz, Josh Van Mulligen, and Elias Eisenbarth.
Combined with a breakout season last year that saw SEAC reach the second round of playoffs, hopes are high for a winning season from the bantams for the first time since 2013.
For Karg, he admits walking onto the bench isn’t quite the same as skating out for an opening face-off.
However, the chance to still be involved in Medicine Hat’s minor hockey scene has been an enjoyable chapter of his hockey journey so far.
“I definitely enjoy being in the rink,” said Karg. “This opportunity came and I mean I’ve been enjoying it so far.”
Karg and the Bantam AAA Tigers will hit the road for their next two games, visiting the Red Deer AAA Rebels and Calgary AAA Flames on Saturday and Sunday.