Canadian hockey player
One of the greatest two-way centers ever to play professional hockey, Bryan Trottier is finding success these days on the sidelines as a coach. Trottier was an assistant coach with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001 when the Denver-based team won the Stanley Cup. During his 18 seasons on the ice, Trottier played on six Stanley Cup-winning teams-including four consecutive wins with the New York Islanders (1980, 1981, 1982, and 1983) and two back-to-back wins with the Pittsburgh Penguins (1991 and 1992). In early June of 2002, Trottier, who ranks 12th on the National Hockey League's all-time scoring list and sixth on the NHL's all-time playoff scoring list, was hired as the head coach of the New York Rangers. Interestingly, the Rangers are the archrivals of the Islanders, the team for which Trottier played the bulk of his career.
Born in Val Marie, Saskatchewan
Trottier was born in Val Marie, Saskatchewan, on July 17, 1956. Like thousands of young Canadians, he spent much of his free time playing hockey, showing a real aptitude for the game early on. Years before he began playing professional hockey, Trottier often found himself playing the role of teacher, passing along his expertise in the game to his younger brothers and other would-be hockey players in the neighborhood. One of his pupils—younger brother Rocky—eventually made it to the NHL as a forward for the New Jersey Devils. For the older Trottier, mentoring others in the game was a talent that would come in handy later in his career.
Trottier began his hockey career playing for the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Canada Junior Hockey League during the seasons of 1972-1973 and 1973-1974. In the latter season, Trottier scored 41 goals and 71 assists for a total of 112 points in 68 games. In 1974, the NHL, feeling pressure from the rival World Hockey Association (WHA), held a semi-secret draft focusing on younger players, mostly 17- and 18-year-olds. Trottier was drafted by the New York Islanders in the second round of the draft and 22nd overall. The Islanders agreed to pay the young forward all the salary and bonuses he would have received in the NHL while playing in the junior league for yet another year. Trottier spent the 1974-1975 season playing for the Lethbridge Broncos, scoring 46 goals and 98 assists for a total of 144 points in 67 games.
Shines in NHL Debut
Trottier was brilliant in his debut with the NHL, finishing the season with league records for a rookie in assists (63) and points (95), making him a natural choice for the NHL's Calder Trophy, awarded annually to the most outstanding newcomer. Trottier's record in 1976-1977 was not quite as lustrous as in his rookie season, but it was solid nevertheless. He ended the year with 30 goals and 42 assists for a total of 72 points. He really bounced back in 1977-1978, helping to power the Islanders to a dominant position in the league. Playing in 77 games that season, Trottier compiled an enviable record of 46 goals and 77 assists for a total of 123 points.
|1956||Born in Val Marie, Saskatchewan, Canada, on July 17|
|1974||Selected 22nd overall in the NHL Amateur Draft by the New York Islanders|
|1975-76||Makes professional debut as center for New York Islanders|
|1990||Traded to Pittsburgh Penguins by Islanders|
|1994-97||Serves as assistant coach with Penguins|
|1997-98||Serves as head coach with Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League|
|1998-2002||Serves as assistant coach with Colorado Avalanche|
|2002||Hired as head coach of the New York Rangers on June 5|
The Islanders' winning combination had Trottier playing most of the time with Mike Bossy on the right wing and Clark Gillies on the left. The Islanders troika of Bossy, Trottier, and Gillies was by far the most dominant in the NHL since Phil Esposito had teamed Ken Hodge and Wayne Cashman for the Bruins earlier in the 1970s. During the season of 1978-1979, Trottier enjoyed what was to be his best year ever, scoring 47 goals and 87 assists for a total of 134 points, making him the league's top scorer and earning him the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player. Trottier's power scoring helped fuel the Islanders' drive to a Stanley Cup victory at the end of the 1979-1980 season. With a total of 29 points, Trottier was far and away the leading scorer in the playoffs. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most outstanding performer in NHL post-season play.
Causes Stir with Canada Cup Decision
The 1980 Stanley Cup victory was to be only the first of four consecutive wins for the Islanders in the early 1980s. In 1981 Trottier played in the Canada Cup. During the 1981-1982 regular season, he tallied a career-high 50 goals, and in the playoffs, he collected a total of 29 points to lead the league in post-season scoring. In 1984 Trottier stunned the hockey world—particularly its sizeable Canadian contingent—with the announcement that he would play for the United States rather than Canada in the Canada Cup competition. He was booed mercilessly by Canadian fans during Canada Cup play.
Although his numbers progressively fell for the remainder of the 1980s, Trottier stayed with the Islanders until 1990 when he was signed by the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins hoped the addition of Trottier to their lineup would bolster their playoff chances, and their hunch proved correct. Joining other Penguin stars such as Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr , Trottier helped power Pittsburgh to two consecutive Stanley Cup victories. After the Penguins' second Stanley Cup win in 1992, Trottier retired as a player and took a desk job in the front office of the Islanders. After sitting out the 1992-1993 season, Trottier decided he'd had enough of the front office and returned to the Penguins as a player for the 1993-1994 season. He played 41 games with the team while also acting as assistant coach. At the end of the season, he finally hung up his skates for good but continued as assistant coach until 1997. He worked as head coach for the Portland Pirates of the AHL for the 1997-1998 season, after which he moved to the Colorado Avalanche as assistant coach until 2002. The Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in 2001.
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997, Trottier was one of the top candidates for the head coaching job with the New York Rangers. In announcing that the job would go to Trottier, Rangers' general manager Glen Sather said: "Since joining the coaching ranks in 1994, Bryan Trottier has demonstrated the same type of passion, determination, and knowledge of the game that he displayed during his Hall of Fame playing career. I am confident that he is the ideal leader for the New York Rangers." In taking the Rangers' job, Trottier became the fifth member of the Islanders' dynasty to become an NHL head coach, joining Lorne Henning, Butch Goring, Greg Gilbert, and Duane Sutter.
Awards and Accomplishments
|1974||Named World Junior Championship MVP as member of Team Canada|
|1976||Wins Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year|
|1976, 1978, 1982-83, 1985-86, 1992||Selected to play in NHL All-Star Game|
|1979||Wins Art Ross Trophy as NHL's leading scorer|
|1979||Wins Hart Trophy as NHL's most valuable player|
|1980||Wins Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player in playoffs|
|1980-83||Leads New York Islanders to Stanley Cup four years in a row|
|1984||Leads Team Canada to Canada Cup|
|1989||Receives King Clancy Memorial Award for humanitarian contributions|
|1991-92||Leads Pittsburgh Penguins to back-to-back Stanley cup victories|
|1997||Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame|
|2001||Helps coach the Colorado Avalanche to Stanley Cup victory|
|Islanders: New York Islanders; Penguins: Pittsburgh Penguins.|
Address: Bryan Trottier, c/o New York Rangers, 2 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10121.
Gulitti, Tom. "Trottier Paid His Dues." Record (Bergen County, NJ) (June 9, 2002): S2.
Podell, Ira. "Trottier Hired as New Rangers Coach." AP Online (June 6, 2002).
"Bryan Trottier—Career Highlights." New York Rangers. http://www.newyorkrangers.com/team/highlights_trottier.asp (November 2, 2002).
"Bryan Trottier, 'Trots.' " Joy of Hockey. http://www.joyofhockey.com/xRet1BryanTrottier.html (November 2, 2002).
"The Legends: Players: Bryan Trottier." Legends of Hockey. http://www.legendsofhockey.net:8080/LegendsOfHockey/jsp/LegendsMember.jsp?mem=p199702&type=Player&page=bio&list=#photo (November 8, 2002).
"Management/Coaching/Training Staff: Bryan Trottier Head Coach." New York Rangers. http://www.newyorkrangers.com/team/coach.asp?coachid=113 (November 2, 2002).
"NHL Player Search: Rocky Trottier." Legends of Hockey. http://www.legendsofhockey.net:8080/LegendsOfHockey/jsp/SearchPlayer.jsp?player=14576 (November 8, 2002).
Sketch by Don Amerman