The highly coveted goaltender from South Portland announced Monday afternoon that he will be attending Providence College in the fall.
Gillies’ decision to select the Friars over the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League came after visiting both locations last week.
“When I went to (Providence College), I didn’t know to expect,” said Gillies. “The campus was absolutely beautiful. It’s a smaller school. There are only 4,000 students, so it gave me that prep school feel again, which I really liked.”
Gillies began looking for a place to play after receiving his release from Northeastern back in March.
The 18-year old netminder, who is ranked the sixth best goaltender in North America by the NHL Central Scouting Service for the upcoming NHL Draft, had a 31-11-9 record with a 2.77GAA and .915 save percentage for the Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League this season.
He led the Ice to the Eastern Conference Finals before falling to the Green Bay Gamblers, finishing with 3-3-0 record with a 2.84GAA and a .911 save percentage.
“Look at (Providence coach Nate Leaman’s) track record and look what they have done,” he said. “Coach Leaman is a winner. He has been wherever he has gone. I felt like it was the right fit.”
Gillies had nothing, but positive things to say about the Quebec Remparts organization.
“You couldn’t pick a better organization in the (Canadian Hockey League) than in Quebec, but
I had to go to college,” Gillies added. “It’s something my family believes in so I had to do it.”
“The Quebec visit was great. Patrick Roy is a phenomenal person. He was great, everyone was great up there. It’s nothing against Quebec, but college gives more time to develop if I need it. From being where I am and my family, school is important for me.”
Both Providence and Quebec told Gillies he was their guy.
“They both used the term. ‘it’s your net’,” Gillies said. “Until you give it up and stop earning it, it’s going to be still your net.”
Gillies said he didn’t factor the goalies already on the roster for both teams. Quebec has Phoenix Coyotes prospect Louis Domingue, who could return to the QMJHL for his 20-year old season if he doesn’t make the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate Portland Pirates or be assigned to the ECHL. Francois Brassard is a fellow draft eligible netminder for the Remparts.
For the Friars, they have lost their starter Alex Beaudry and Justin Gates to graduation. The other two goalies on the roster Russ Stein and Julien LaPlante have a combine one game played between the two of them.
According to Chris Heisenberg’s recruiting site, Providence has another incoming freshman coming in Dylan Wells, who played in the Alberta Junior Hockey League this past season.
The rumors of Patrick Roy being the next head coach of the Montreal Canadiens didn’t factor in his decision.
“As far as he told me, he’s going to be (in Quebec) next year,” Gillies stated. “Obviously, I don’t know too much about that and it affect my decision at all.”
With the decision over, Gillies can focus on the NHL Draft Combine which will be held in Toronto, which will be held May 28 – June 2.
“Both my advisor and I agreed that it’s important to make our decision before the combine,” he said. “I always had that planned. It took a little bit longer because I didn’t expect to like Providence as much as I did to be honest. I have never heard anything about it or anything, so I was going in totally blinded and unprepared. It made the decision a lot harder.”
NOTES: Providence College has another Maine native on the roster as Cumberland native Kevin Hart is entering his junior year with the Friars. As a sophomore, he had two goals and eight assists this season.