Since word got out earlier last month that the contract for his services as a player development coach for the Islanders would not be renewed, Bryan Trottier disappeared for a while. He got away from the phone and spent the last few weeks visiting with his mom in Saskatchewan.
In typical Trottier fashion, he expressed only positive sentiments about the organization and optimism for many of the team’s prospects when contactd by PB, simply confirming that he currently did not have a role with the team. General manager Garth Snow told a newspaper the team was finding a new position for him. Trottier had nothing to report on that front, but asked for the opportunity to speak directly to Islanders fans. He spoke while I took notes.
“I’m very grateful that I had the chance to re-connect with the Islanders, Long Island and New York. I had the player development position for the last four years, but the re-connection to the franchise really began in 2001 when Charles (Wang) and I started dealing with each other one-on-one, going back to my number being retired. I consider Charles a friend. I’m pretty sure he knows I’ll be there for the Islanders if he needs anything, no matter what role I have with the team.
“I loved working with our young players. The best part was the personal time spent with them. I’d go to Denver and see Rhett Rakhshani for a few days. I’d spend a lot of time in Bridgeport. I’d go out West and watch Travis Hamonic play and spend some time speaking with him. I’d speak with the players’ coaches. I really have a soft spot for Casey Cizikas. He’s just a good person and we had a great time getting to know each other and working on his game. I’ll be rooting hard for him, like I will all the prospects. I guess I always had a strong connection with Blake Comeau because we’re both Saskatchewan boys. I like the way Blake plays the game.
“We have a good crew of prospects. If given the time to mature, they should do well and hopefully grow together as important parts of a winning team. I feel good about many of the players’ futures.
“If I’m going to work for a team, I want it to be on the hockey side. That’s where I feel I have everything to give. I’m proud of my record working with Washington’s young players when I was coach in Portland, and of my work in Colorado as an assistant helping develop their players. I’m very happy with how far many of our prospects with the Islanders have come.
“It’s not necessary for me to have any official kind of ambassador-type role with the Islanders. The bottom line is that I’m one of the biggest ambassadors for the New York Islanders you’ll ever find. I’ll do that for nothing for the rest of my life. My family’s home is in Pittsburgh, I was part of Cup teams with the Penguins, but even when they introduce me here they say, ‘Bryan Trottier of the New York Islanders.’
“I’m always going to be a New York Islander. I’m always going to be a supporter of Charles and the franchise. My relationship with the team and the fans there is second only to family. The opportunity to be part of it again these last four years was really special for me. All I have are positive feelings and a lot of appreciation for the people I had the opportunity to work with. Please thank the fans for me. I’m sure I’ll be seeing them at some point down the road.”
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