|Portland Pirates center|
Pretty sure not many have. Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen certainly knew about him.
In 2009 Voakes was invited to the Pirates training camp, but didn't make the cut. On the exit interview, Dineen talked to the kid, telling him he considered him a "viable call-up," and Voakes was headed to Cincinnati to join the Cyclones of the ECHL.
Injuries stunted his first season with the Cyclones, though. Just after posting his first pro goal en route to netting the hat-trick on October 23, 2009, Voakes was injured and was out two months from October 25 to December 31, 2009.
Tough break for the kid, as Dineen said that he wanted to call him up at the time, but his injured knee put that on hold. A hold that lasted nearly 18 months.
Having played a total of 24 games in the 2009/10 season for Cincinnati, scoring eight goals, adding seven assists and logging a plus-8, he was traded to the Bakersfield Condors on March 9, 2010.
This wasn't the first time that Voakes faced adversity and movement. As a 19 yr. old, he had a brief, two-year stint with Bowling Green University in the NCAA which yielded nothing--zero points in 14 games.
After that disaster, he headed back to his home province of Ontario to enroll in Wilfrid Laurier University.
|Voakes (left) receives Wilfrid Laurier's|
Presidents Award in 2009
The four years he spent back home in Ontario, along with the MVP award and two first team all-star selections, seemed to rekindle his scoring touch as well as give him the confidence to deftly find that "dead-ice" that so important to offensive producers.
Although his first nine months in the ECHL were rocky, he eventually said good-bye to the 2009-10 regular season and welcomed the 2010 playoffs with Bakersfield.
In eight playoff games he proceeded to register three goals and five assists for the Condors.
Those results earned him another AHL tryout in the 2010 off-season, this time with the Houston Aeros.
Passed upon once again by the AHL, it was back to the ECHL, this time with the Greenville Road Warriors.
This time Voakes stayed healthy, and with 60 games under his belt for the 2010-11 season, he scored 17 goals and finished with 54 points.
Portland Pirates coach Kevin Dineen remembered the 6'0" 180 lb. center from nearly two years ago. Voakes had made that much of an impression.
|Voakes (center) celebrates his first AHL|
goal with Luke Adam (left) and
Mark Parrish (right)
Voakes took full advantage of the opportunity scoring his first AHL goal on his first shift and earning accolades from Dineen, "He hasn't done it the easy way, and he earned his call-up and his ice-time [in that game]"
He also earned an extended stay with the Pirates playing in a total of 18 games scoring six goals, adding five assists and finishing with a plus-7.
A very appealing part of Voakes' game is how he seems to pick it up in the playoffs.
- Eight points in eight playoff games for the ECHL's Bakersfield Condors.
- Two goals and three points in three games for the Greenville Road Warriors when he was loaned back to them earlier this month.
- With Portland this season in the playoffs, he's recorded two goals and seven points (tied for second on the team) in eight games thus far.