Bryan Trottier has a tremendous resume, but over the last 11 years he’s taken a step back from the game. After winning the Stanley Cup six times over the course of his Hall of Fame playing career and becoming an assistant coach immediately following his retirement in 1993-94, Trottier eventually became the head coach of the New York Rangers in 2002.
His stint with the Rangers didn’t go as planned though as he was fired after guiding them to a 21-26-6-1 start to the 2002-03 campaign. Rather than look for another team he could play behind the bench of, Trottier decided it was time to readjust his focus after going through the grind of hockey seasons for the vast majority of his life to that point.
“I took some time off,” Trottier told NHL.com. “In reflection, I didn’t want to be a head coach anymore. When you’re a head coach you have to have a different demeanor and I just don’t have that demeanor. I want to be a teacher and an instructor and a mentor. I want to be those things versus a lot of the other roles a head coach has to play. That’s my strength.
“It’s sometimes good to find out and say to yourself, ‘That’s not what I like to do, this is what I really like to do.’ So I got into player development with the Islanders and that was a real joy. My son was getting really involved in hockey and baseball and I took a little more time off.”
Trottier had gotten to the point where he was interested in returning to the bench when Buffalo Sabres head coach Ted Nolan approached him about an assistant coaching position. He knows he’ll be rusty, but he also feels refreshed and is excited about this new chapter in his life. He’ll be able to share his wealth of hockey knowledge with a young Sabres squad that’s coming off of a 21-51-10 campaign and is looking to prove that it can already be competitive despite the expectation that they’ll be one of the league’s worst teams.