– Quentin Knock has never let any obstacle hold him back.
About a decade ago, the 18-year-old Amherst native decided he wanted to play hockey, but because of his cerebral palsy he found he couldn’t hold a hockey stick. That didn’t stop him.
“I taped the stick to my glove so I could play,” said Knock, who just entered his first year of the two-year business administration program at the Amherst campus of the Nova Scotia Community College. “My friends were all playing, and I wanted to play too.”
While his playing career only lasted several years – and included a short stint as a goaltender – Knock turned to officiating, where he continues to work as a referee and linesman with the Cumberland County Minor Hockey Association.
“It was hard to play. I had to tape my stick to my hand and when I was a goalie everyone had to help me get ready. As I got older I learned how to do it myself, how to put my gear on and tie my skates with one hand,” he said.
It’s that determination that has helped him succeed in life when it could have been very easy to let his physical challenges limit or stop him from doing the things he wants to do. It’s one of the reasons by Knock was recently named a recipient of the Jordan Boyd Leadership Award & Scholarship, established in 2013 to recognize individuals in amateur hockey who have demonstrated a passion for sportsmanship, learning, leadership and community – qualities exhibited in Boyd, who died suddenly during training camp for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
Knock was one of three recipients to attend a reception in Halifax in July. He’s the first recipient from Cumberland County and he said he was told he’s first full-time hockey official.
“It’s nice to be recognized as an official. Being a referee has allowed me to stay in hockey,” he said. “I love hockey and being a referee.”
Being an on-ice official hasn’t been easy, he added.
“You take a lot of crap from coaches and parents, but you can’t let it get to you. You have to have a thick skin and brush it off,” said Knock. “It’s not all bad, though. I really do enjoy it and hope others will come onboard this year because we definitely need help.”
He applied for the scholarship while in Grade 12 at Amherst Regional High School last year and he had to write an essay as part of the application process telling the selection committee what he has done to uphold principles of fairness and sportsmanship while giving examples of his work leadership skills and community participation.
“It came down to about 50 applications,” Knock said. “His mother called me in June to tell me how much she appreciated my essay and to tell me that I was one of the recipients. She said if they had to pick one it would’ve been mine. I was really surprised and excited, to be honest. It’s a special award and I’m honoured to receive it.”
The scholarship is valued at $2,000. During graduation ceremonies last June, he also received a significant entrance scholarship to NSCC and other bursaries and scholarships.
Along with his work in hockey, Knock has also become an advocate for para athletes in Nova Scotia, especially at the high school level.
Two years ago, when he learned the points he and other para athletes earned in regional and provincial competitions didn’t count toward their schools’ totals, he began the process to launch a human rights complaint against the Nova Scotia Schools Athletic Federation.
Knock, who has won multiple track and field gold medals for the ARHS Vikings, said he was frustrated that his effort and that of others was being treated differently by the governing body for high school sports.
Even though he’s no longer in high school, he hopes the NSSAF continues to move toward true equality in high school sports and hopes that he and other para athletes inspire more to participate.
Besides sports, Knock has been active with the 258 Amherst Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps since April 2013 and holds the rank of Petty Officer First Class.
“Cadets has taught me leadership and how to instruct as well as how to be respectful to others,” Knock added. “I’ve learned a lot of life skills.”