Gulls A-Z Player Profile: Brent Gates Jr.Aug 19, 2019
Brent Gates Jr. followed in his father's footsteps in becoming a professional athlete, just not the same sport. The son of Brent Gates Sr., who played seven Major League Baseball (MLB) seasons with Oakland, Seattle and Minnesota as a second and third baseman, Gates Jr. got an inside look at the life of an athlete with his father. At 17-years-old, Gates Jr. was drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the third round (80th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft.
A native of Grand Rapids, Mich., Gates Jr. joined the same college that his father played baseball at, the University of Minnesota. Over four seasons and 148 games with the Gophers (2015-19), Gates Jr. scored 42-43=85 points with a +14 rating and 61 PIM, playing all the final 94 consecutive games to end his NCAA career. In addition, he was Minnesota's 2018-19 recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award and named to the All-Academic Big Ten team in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Following four years of developing at the collegiate level, Gates Jr. played his first professional hockey game last season. He made his debut with the Gulls Mar. 27 vs. the San Jose Barracuda where he recorded his first professional point 34:15 into the game with an assist on Adam Cracknell’s goal.
In his fourth game with the Gulls, he would net his first AHL goal Apr. 3, also in a game at SAP versus San Jose. Corey Tropp one-timed a shot from the slot, but the puck snuck rebounded in front and Gates Jr. was in position to clean up the loose puck for his first career score at the 6:32 mark of the second period.
"It was great," said former Gulls coach Dallas Eakins when asked about Gates Jr. following the game." I said to him before that Todd Marchant (Anaheim Ducks Director of Player Development) had told me that he could score and I asked him, ‘Did you score goals in college?’ He said yes, so I said the nets are the same size here so don’t be afraid to put it in. Always great to see a young man grab his first pro goal."
Each year, Gates Jr. has continued to develop his game and improve his production in multiple leagues. With college now in the rear view mirror, Gates Jr. will aim to play in his first full professional season in San Diego after signing a one-year contract through the 2019-20 AHL season last week.