Trotz — a 56-year-old product of Dauphin, MB — is no stranger to winning, and is certainly no stranger to the Word.
The Washington Capitals are not Stanley Cup Champions by accident.
Led by generational talent and prolific goal-scorer Alexander Ovechkin, rock solid netminder and Vezina Trophy winner Braden Holtby, and blue chip offensive defenceman and former World Junior champ John Carlson, the Capitals collected their first Stanley Cup in team history in mid-June of 2018.
For Washington, the talent has always been there. However, the daunting task of finding a way to properly harness and utilize that dynamic offence once again fell squarely on the shoulders of longtime National Hockey League [and former] Head Coach Barry Trotz.
Trotz — a 56-year-old product of Dauphin, MB — is no stranger to winning, and is certainly no stranger to the Word. After spending 15 seasons at the helm of the Nashville Predators, the veteran coach picked up shop in D.C. where he saw exceptional levels of success with the Capitals — twice leading Washington to the Presidents’ Trophy (2015-16, 2016-17), while picking up the NHL’s Jack Adams Award as Coach of the Year following the 2015-16 season, and ultimately collecting Lord Stanley’s Mug [in the] spring [of 2018].
However, winning hockey’s greatest prize wasn’t all Trotz’s doing. It was the coming together of the team at the perfect time. A team built on hard work and dedication, and an expressed devotion to the Word.
As a big believer in the NHL’s chapel programs, Trotz stands firmly in the fact that “attending chapel is extremely beneficial for both the player and the person”. Trotz — who demands the very best from his players night in and night out — understands that there sometimes is some ambiguity and uncertainty when hockey players think about attending chapel.
In an interview with Stu Grimson — formerly an NHL enforcer and currently serving with Hockey Ministries International — Trotz reflected upon some of the misunderstandings surrounding chapel programs within the hockey community.
“A chapel program is essential for a player,” Trotz said. “We are in a sport where you have to show strength. And a lot of times, people think that if you go to a chapel program — where we spend a lot of time talking about failures and weaknesses — that in doing so, it is looked upon as a weakness.”
“Talking about your failures or things that you’re struggling with is actually not a weakness at all,” Trotz added.
It is a strength, and it gives you something to lean on. The chapel program is very important for the National Hockey League for the players because with our schedules and playing Saturdays and Sundays, you just don’t get much opportunity (for worship and discussion). We need the chapel programs; we need support. The players deal with a lot of different things — but they’re just human like all of us, and that gives us strength.
Trotz has experienced a multitude of instances in his lifetime that have required some serious strength — including a significant neck injury he sustained that forced the one-time budding NHL prospect into a decision to begin coaching. Later in life, Trotz and his wife Lisa were blessed with a baby boy — Nolan. He was diagnosed with Down Syndrome just hours after his birth – something Trotz refers to as a blessing in disguise.
“It was a little bit of a shock,” Trotz said in a 2001 interview with BP Sports. “We got over it. We could have had the amniocentesis to find that out, but we didn’t do it because it wouldn’t have mattered one way or the other. Whatever God gave us as a child, that’s what we were happy to have.”
Raising a child with Down’s Syndrome has certainly been much more work for Barry and Kim, however that additional work comes with a significantly higher reward. In 2008 Trotz helped fundraise an initiative within the Nashville, TN. area, Best Buddies, that provided children with disabilities volunteer partners/friends. Due to Trotz’s commitment and the involvement of the players on the Nashville Predators, Best Buddies was forced to relocate from the Bridgestone Arena to a larger venue, as the 20,000 seat capacity inside the downtown area was no longer sufficient.[In] June , Nolan Trotz — stood present on the ice of T-Mobile Arena in Vegas alongside his big siblings Tiana, Shalan and Tyson (via FaceTime call) to watch his father fulfill his lifelong dream of raising the Stanley Cup high over his head in victory.
“Nolan has been a blessing for us,” Trotz reflected. “It would be hard to think of life without him. I couldn’t think of life without him right now. He’s sort of the apple of our family’s eye.”