Maine Hockey Journal

Gillies adjusting to life in Calgary

Not many Mainers get to say that they have an NCAA Division I Championship, a Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player award, and a contract with the Calgary Flames, but goaltender Jon Gillies has earned the right to say all of those.

A native of South Portland, Gillies, has taken his 6-foot-5 inch frame to go to work with a professional hockey team. He is currently traveling back and forth between Providence and Calgary while he finishes his spring semester finals for this school year.

Although Gillies has moved on to play professional ice hockey, the 21-year-old goaltender can’t forget what has brought him to this point: his coaches, his teammates, and his family.

“I don’t really know how to describe it,” said Gillies on winning the national championship with Providence College and move on to the NHL. “With professional sports comes money and comes a lot of things, but the best part about it for me was seeing the look on my parent’s faces and my little brother’s face when they were sitting at the table signing my contract. It’s definitely been a long road to get here, and it’s been all due to them.”

Gillies’ list of accomplishments at the Division I level is nothing short of incredible. Since 2012, Jon has been the Hockey East Rookie of the Year, NCAA Ice Hockey National Rookie of the Year, Hockey East Goaltending Champion, the NCAA Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player, and a national champion to top all of that off.

Though Gillies moves on to play with the Calgary Flames, his decision wasn’t an easy one.

“The days after were pretty cool, but it doesn’t really hit you,” said Gillies of his time after the championship game. “It didn’t really hit me until I was leaving and saying goodbye to my roommates and saying goodbye to the kids that I’ve gone through that journey with.”

Gillies will compete for a spot on NHL roster, but its likely he’ll begin his pro career playing for their AHL affiliate, Stockton Heat, located in Stockton, California.

Before going to play for the Friars in Providence, Jon had to make a choice to go and play in the QMJHL under NHL goalie legend and head coach of the Quebec Remparts Patrick Roy, or going to college.

“I was in Indiana, the week before high school graduation there was a buffer week where I wasn’t doing anything, so I flew back home,” said Gillies. “I flew to Quebec and met with Patrick Roy and his staff, then I went with my family for a day. After that, I went down to Providence to meet with Coach (Nate) Leaman and his staff and see the campus. . . At the end of the day, I thought college was the right choice, and it was also very important to my mom.”

Gillies has had a great experience thus far with Calgary, who has defeated the Vancouver Canucks in the opening round of the NHL playoffs. Jon listed on the roster as the team’s third goalie has been primarily skating with the practice squad commonly known as the “black aces”. The Flames current AHL team, Adirondack Flames, finished its regular season two weeks ago, and they recalled Jani Ortio to be the third goaltender in case of injury to Karri Ramo or Jonas Hiller.

“It’s fun to be part of a city like this and it’s an honor to be a part of an organization that does everything in a first-class manner,” said Gillies of his stint with the Flames thus far. “I’m just trying to be a sponge right now and take everything in that I can and reward some of their faith in me.”

Since winning the championship in Boston on April 11th, Jon has been back and forth between Providence, Calgary, and even once back to his home in Maine. Adding in his final exams at Providence College, the goaltender has time to breathe after the morning skating sessions in Calgary.

The Maine native is doing big things to represent his home state, and though he is in a different country with an NHL team during their playoff run, he offers a few important words to his hometown:

“I’m not the type of person that is ever going to forget where I come from.”

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