Timmins Rock blue-liner Kyle Trottier, shown here tightly checking Yarmouth Mariners forward Michael Marquez during a game at the 2023 Centennial Cup, will be looking to earn a third-straight trip to the national Junior ‘A’ championship tournament this season. Trottier was part of the 2022 NOJHL champion Soo Thunderbirds and the 2023 NOJHL champion Timmins Rock. Entering his final year of Junior ‘A’ eligibility, he will be joined by his younger brother Ayden Trottier on the Rock blue-line. ERICA PERREAUX/HOCKEY CANADA IMAGES jpg, TD, apsmc
NOJHL veteran D-man looking forward to playing with younger brother
While 11 of his teammates will be looking to make a return visit to the Centennial Cup in 2024, Timmins Rock blue-liner Kyle Trottier will be seeking a hat-trick of appearances at the national Junior ‘A’ championship tournament.
And the 2003-birth-year blue-liner has his sights set on winning the championship in his final season of Junior ‘A’ eligibility, not just making an appearance this time around.
Trottier, a 5-10, 165-pound, left-hand shooting Kapuskasing product, went to the 2022 Centennial Cup championships as a member of the NOJHL champion Soo Thunderbirds in his first full season of Junior ‘A’ hockey.
And two games into the 2022-23 campaign, Trottier was acquired by the Rock in exchange for forward Daniel Beaupre and made a return visit to the Centennial Cup as part of their NOJHL championship squad.
So, what has been his secret to success and does he see his streak continuing for a third-straight season?
“Really, I just got to play with two great groups of guys, both years,” he said.
“We had very special groups both years, everybody knew their role and we all believed in each other. That’s what really made the difference to help me get there twice.
“Hopefully, we can do the same thing this year.”
In 2022, Trottier and the Thunderbirds went 0-4-0 at the Centennial Cup, but he and his Rock teammates produced much more respectable 2-2-0 record in 2023.
“I think it just comes down to work ethic,” he said.
“Obviously, there are some talented teams there. In my first year, we didn’t win any games but last year we had lots of guys who had been there before and they knew what it took to actually compete in that tournament.
“So, it was just work ethic, hard work will be talent one day.”
Obviously, getting a hat-trick of Centennial Cup appearances would be pretty special, but has the blue-liner ever scored three goals in a game?
“It has been a long time since I have scored one of those,” he said.
“They are pretty special and not too many people are able to capitalize on that.”
While Trottier’s offensive stats (54, 5-18-23, 26) increased during his second season in the NOJHL, he is better known for his work in the defensive zone — especially when it comes to blocking shots.
Trottier is one of four veterans back on the Rock blue-line this season, joined by captain Felix Cadieux-Fredette, Chase Longhurst-McIntyre and Tenzin Nyman.
The group also includes four newcomers, Elijah Pool, Cameron Lee, Sam Gallagher and Trottier’s younger brother, Ayden Trottier.
“We got a chance to suit up together one time last season with the Rock, but we haven’t played a full season together since the COVID-19 year with the (GNU19L’s) Kapuskasing Flyers, my third year of Midget,” Kyle Trottier said.
Since both Trottiers play defence, what kind of scouting report does the older sibling have on his younger brother?
“Off the ice, he is a great guy, very respectful, does all the hard work,” Kyle Trottier said.
“On the ice, too, he is a hard worker, more offensive than I am but he still takes care of the D zone very well.
“I am looking forward to being able to see his progress throughout the season.”
Given propensity for sibling rivalry amongst brothers, will there be any friendly wagers on who scores the most goals, or blocks the most shots?
“Obviously, we have a friendship, but a rivalry, too,” Kyle Trottier said.
“I don’t think we really care too much about points but we like to compete with each other in practice and games, just to see how we do.”
Kyle Trottier’s shot blocking prowess is probably rivaled only by the Rock goalies but has he passed the skill on to his younger brother?
“He does very well in that department, he takes care of that D zone, but I feel he is more offensive than I am,” Kyle Trottier said.
“I feel like I am able to step in front of those shots a little bit more, but he does a lot more in the offensive zone.”
The older brother is more team focused in terms of what he hopes to accomplish in 2023-24.
“I don’t really go into seasons with personal goals,” Kyle Trottier said.
“It is all about this group of guys. We are looking really strong. Hopefully, a strong season will lead into a good playoff run and a return trip to the Centennial Cup.”
The Rock’s Centennial Cup success resulted in one of the shortest off seasons in the franchise’s history.
“As soon as I got home, I took a week off from training and whatnot, let my mind rest up,” Kyle Trottier said.
“Right after that, I was right back in the gym, working on stretching, mobility and focusing on my diet. The last month, I have been really getting going again, getting my cardio back up, looking forward to the new season.
Since Kyle Trottier provided a scouting reporter on his younger brother, it is only fair for Ayden Trottier to have the same opportunity to assess his older sibling’s game.
“He is an amazing hockey player, probably one of the best ones I have seen,” Ayden Trottier said.
“I like to try and mimic my game around his play and growing up he definitely taught me quite a bit.
“He is a shot-blocking defenceman and he really takes care of the D zone. He is the reason why I am a defenceman, growing up, watching him.”
Ayden Trottier agrees with his brother’s assessment of his game.
“I am an offensive defenceman,” he said.
“I still take care of the D zone, I do my job back there and I do step in front of quite a few shots but I am a little bit more offensive than my brother. I like to transition, jump in the play.”
Playing for the Flyers last season, Ayden Trottier (28, 5-11-16, 6) put up some solid numbers.
“They have an amazing program and they really help me develop my game over the years,” he said.
“I really can’t thank them enough for getting me ready to play here in Timmins, in front of such a huge, enthusiastic fan base.”
Ayden Trottier knows making the jump from the GNU18L to the NOJHL won’t be easy.
“I would say the pace of play is going to be the biggest challenge,” he said.
“Moving up is a big step. That extra second you have in U18 is taken away from you.
“So, it is going to be a matter of getting used to the pace, doing everything you can, finding your role, being the best player you can and being the best player for your team.
“It is obviously a little bit difficult playing with a new team, new systems, new everything, but we have such a great coaching staff here and such a great group of veterans.”