Worlds collide as Pelham third grader Quinton Byfield meets LA Kings star Quinton Byfield

Not often can you say that you’ve been in a room with someone who has the same exact name as you—let alone comes from the same place and is playing the sport you love. However, eight-year-old Pelham resident Quinton Byfield can. And so can Los Angeles King’s player Quinton Byfield.

Pelham resident looks on rinkside as LA Kings take on New York Rangers at MSG.

Pelham’s Quinton Byfield was born in Bronxville, NY. His mother, Steffanie Willis, has a Canadian background, while his father, Stephen Byfield, has Jamaican roots.

The other Quinton Byfield, the 2020 number two NHL draft pick, also comes from Canadian and Jamaican roots. Both are biracial with curly black hair.

Little Byfield (as he’s been called throughout this story) found big Byfield while watching some YouTube clips of NHL shootouts. Since then, big Byfield has been little Byfield’s hero and his inspiration in playing hockey.

“This is his first year playing,” said Stephen Byfield. “The influence (from big Quinton) happened and in seeing something he could relate to, that being a biracial boy walking around with the same name as him and very similar background, his performance, skill level, everything, has just been great.”

On Christmas, his parents surprised him with tickets to see the New York Rangers play the Kings on Jan. 24 at Madison Square Garden. When Willis bought those tickets in late-summer, she immediately reached out to the Kings to set something up between the two parties.

“The Kings were lovely,” Willis said. “They got back to me right away and said this is an amazing story. We are going to try and do whatever we can, but with Covid, we can’t do an official meet and greet. But stay tuned, and we’ll see what happens.”

LA Kings player Quinton Byfield gifted Pelham resident Quinton Byfield with signed hat.

Then, Big Byfield broke his ankle. It was looking like the potential get together would be a no-go. But like everything else in this story, the pieces were going to find some way to fall into place. The Friday before the Rangers game, big Byfield was called back to play and was able to meet little Byfield and his family at the game before heading out onto the ice. They were also able to connect via an appearance on the NHL Network, where big Byfield gave little Byfield a surprise: an invitation to come out to Los Angeles to watch the Kings play in the Arena.

The whole adventure has been life changing for little Quinton Byfield. He plays hockey for the 8u Pelham Penguins.

“I love all my teammates,” he said. “I’m best friends with them, and I love my coaches.”

Off the ice, little Quinton is enjoying some fame at Siwanoy Elementary School and around town. “I did show my friends all of my interviews,” he said. His third grade class watched them on the SmartBoard.

Even strangers have recognized Quinton from this heart warming story. “We were eating at Rockwells, and this man walked in and said, ‘I just saw you on NHL Network!'” Quinton said. “I got confused… but was excited that he knew me.”

As for what this experience has meant for their son, Steffanie Willis and Stephen Byfield could not be happier. “It’s been so heartwarming as a mom,” Willis said. “To have someone that is such a fantastic hockey player that Quinton can look up to, but more importantly someone who’s so incredibly kind, generous and thoughtful… He’s everything you want your hockey hero to be.”

She said the Kings star went out of his way at the game to give little Quinton a signed hat and puck, as well as one for his 10-year-old brother Trey.

“For Quinton to see somebody that he can see himself in is great,” Stephen Byfield said. “There’s a bit more inclusivity in hockey, but there needs to be more… that will happen in time, but for one to shine out that Quinton can see is great.”

Quinton and his family plan to make the trip out to Los Angeles at the beginning of the 2022-2023 NHL season when they hope Covid-19 protocols are a bit more relaxed. As for what they’ll do in between, Quinton plans to continue with hockey, and the family has decided they will research ways that the two may be related and hopefully bond even more over this one-in-a-million coincidence.