March 20, 2023
Hall of Famer Trottier Recalls His Illustrious Life in New Memoir -

Hall of Famer Trottier Recalls His Illustrious Life in New Memoir –

“You can always come home.”

Those were the words Bryan Trottier’s father said to him as a teenager during a fit of homesickness over Christmas as he struggled with the idea of ​​playing junior hockey again in Swift Current.

After some convincing from his parents and junior teammate and future NHLer Dave “Tiger” Williams, Trottier returned to Swift Current and had one of the most illustrious careers in National Hockey League history. As a player, Trottier was a key figure in the New York Islanders dynasty, winning four straight Stanley Cups from 1980-1983. He would add two more championships as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

During his time in New York, he took home the Hart, Calder, Art Ross, Conn Smythe, and King Clancy trophies. He ranks 17th all-time in NHL history with 1,425 career points and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997.

These words from his father still resonate with Trottier today and helped inspire the title of his memoir: All Roads Home: A life on and off the ice.

“The main reason was because I’m no longer afraid to share my thoughts,” Trottier told TSN of his decision to co-write a memoir with writer Stephen Brunt.

“I think that’s where I’m at in life in general, it’s wonderful to think about and reminisce about.”

Born and raised on a ranch in Val Marie, Sask., Trottier is half Indigenous and half Irish. His parents taught him and his four siblings from an early age to be proud of their mixed heritage and that discrimination is a form of jealousy.

“We had the joys of all the culture and food [like] Bannock and venison, pheasant and all the wonderful dishes that grandma and grandpa used to make and mum was heavy on her Irish toddies and crosswords and I just loved it all,” Trottier said of his childhood growing up with both cultures .

A big moment in Trottier’s adult life came in September 1994. Feeling like he had a bad flu with no energy, he went to the doctor and was diagnosed with clinical depression. With the support of the penguins, he went to a facility for a 10-day stay that helped him deal with self-esteem issues.

“The wonderful thing about spiritual wellbeing and seeking support, the tools, is realizing that there is something along the path to forgiveness and that you carry baggage when you don’t forgive yourself or other people, and that really helped.” said Trottier.

“The biggest thing I found was my kids because they were my greatest joy just to have them, I’m just focusing on that, I think it was probably my greatest help that I got and they have it didn’t even notice. ”

Another key figure in Trottier’s life was former teammate and close friend Mike Bossy. Bossy, who died April 15 at the age of 65, played 10 seasons alongside Trottier in New York, winning four Stanley Cups and scoring 573 goals in 752 NHL career games.

“Mike was a best friend, roommate, linemate,” Trottier said. “We were together every day for ten years and we couldn’t wait to be together. And that’s the kind of friend you need.

“It’s wonderful to have that kind of relationship with someone to play with and create magic with them every night. Mike is a special person, he will always be. I miss him every day. He’s been a huge, important factor in my life and career.”

Trottier plays in the star-studded Islanders dynasty, which includes the likes of Bossy, Denis Potvin, Billy Smith and Clark Gillies, and is an integral part of his legacy in New York. His No. 19 is eliminated by the team and he holds the franchise records in points (1,353), assists (853) and plus-minus (+470).

Aside from the Stanley Cups, what Trottier enjoyed most of his NHL career was playing against the best players in the world.

“For example, when I played against Darryl Sittler, he was my ultimate competitor,” said Trottier. “He was the guy that I learned that’s a 60-minute game from playing him. That’s how you play hockey, every faceoff is a fight, on both ends [ice], 60 minutes. I was exhausted and it was special to go head to head with him.

“I think that’s what I missed the most, what I enjoyed the most every day, the trip to the Stanley Cup was pretty fun. These rides were especially fun. But the annual night to night battles and the exhaustion afterwards, wow, won, lost or drawn, I gave it my all.”

After hanging up his skates following the 1993-94 season, Trottier devoted himself full-time to coaching after serving as a player-coach with the Penguins in his final NHL season. With stints as an assistant coach in Pittsburgh, Colorado and Buffalo, as well as a brief stint as the head coach of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Portland Pirates, Trottier says the things he enjoyed most about coaching were the communication, the teaching, the skill development, the conditioning aspect of that and making sure the players were prepared.

Trottier looks back fondly on his time in Colorado, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2001 as an assistant coach. While he says it was a pleasure coaching the experienced core of Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Adam Foote and Rob Blake, it was a trio of young players who hold a special place in Trottier’s memory back then.

“We had three kids in Colorado — Alex Tanguay, Milan Hejduk and Chris Drury,” Trottier said. “I call them my three favorite players I’ve ever coached because they were young, they were eager and when they took off my god we won a Stanley Cup and I thanked them afterwards because they were good students and made me feel like I had contributed a lot to their success.”

Trottier is now 66 years old and a grandfather. He has spent time visiting First Nations communities and is grateful for the people who share their culture with him, whether it’s music, drum dancing, food, or invitations to hunt and fish.

“We go there with a message, if you have a dream, follow a dream,” Trottier said of sharing his experience with Indigenous youth. “You can leave home, you can be shy, you can be homesick, but you can always come home and bring what you’ve learned back to your community and that experience of chasing a dream, be it in the Music or art or sports or whatever.

“It was very rewarding in some ways and in other ways it was just an experience I wouldn’t trade an education for.”

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