Rock rookie earns his letters

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

Jimmy Quinlan may not be a household name in lacrosse circles, but at least people are beginning to learn how to spell his name.

The unheralded Toronto Rock rookie forward, signed out of Sherwood Park, Alta., last summer, led the team with three goals in his National Lacrosse League debut Jan. 29 in Rochester.

Not bad for a guy whose name was spelled incorrectly -- Quinlin -- on his original Rock jersey.

Quinlan, 23, who has put his schooling at the University of Alberta on hold to re-locate to Oshawa for the season, will try to cement his place in the lineup during a tough back-to-back weekend, starting tonight in St. Paul, Minn., against the expansion Minnesota Swarm (2-3). The Rock (2-2) then plays host to the defending champion Calgary Roughnecks (4-2) tomorrow night at the Air Canada Centre.

"I'm living life out of a suitcase," said Quinlan, who played senior lacrosse in B.C., for the Coquitlam Adanacs the past two summers. "I don't want to regret not trying this."

A fifth-round pick by Calgary in 2001, Quinlan was cut by that expansion squad after a pre-start-up coaching change.

"I still have a bitter taste in my mouth from that experience," Quinlan said.

He has had nibbles from other teams, but the hardest pitch Quinlan received came from the Rock after he scored 38 goals in 39 games for Coquitlam the past two seasons. Rock assistant coach Matt Sawyer coached the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Quinlan for junior-A Orangeville three years ago and was instrumental in the signing.

OFFERED SPOT

With Rock general manager/coach Terry Sanderson not wanting fly-in players, Quinlan agreed to move here when the team offered him a roster spot after a pre-season game in Prince George, B.C., against the now-defunct Vancouver Ravens.

"To me, it was a long time coming," said Quinlan, who is doing community work for the Rock during the season. "Out of junior, maybe I was a practice roster player. After last year (in Coquitlam), I'm more ready."

Sanderson said Quinlan does not have to score goals to be effective.

"He does the dirty jobs in the game," Sanderson said. "He sets picks and frees other guys up and he can defend."

BRIEFLY

Rock defender Glenn Clark and forward Blaine Manning were named starters on the East all-star team yesterday. Reserves will be named Monday. The game is Feb. 26 in Calgary.


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