Dauphin overfloweth with pride for Stanley Cup-winning favourite son
NHL champion coach Barry Trotz returns to his western Manitoba hometown
He still loves perogies, he still hates mosquitoes and still calls Dauphin his hometown.
NHL coach Barry Trotz is back in the western Manitoba town where he grew up playing hockey to allow Dauphin to celebrate his Stanley Cup Victory.
"The great thing about the Cup is that you share it with everybody. It's the best trophy in sport," Trotz said Tuesday night, when the City of Dauphin designated a portion of his former street, 5th Avenue Southeast, as Barry Trotz Way.
In June, Trotz's Washington Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights to win the franchise's first Stanley Cup.
It was also the first league championship in 19 seasons as a head coach for Trotz, who will coach the New York Islanders this coming NHL season.
Trotz said he felt no stress during this spring's playoff run, calling that a first in his career.
"I believed in what we're doing and what we've done this point. This was probably the first year I said we're just going to try really hard. And I'm going to coach and I'm going to enjoy the playoffs," Trotz said.
"It was probably the first year I wasn't focused on winning the Cup, I was focused on the process of enjoying the trip and enjoying the journey."
After the victory, he said he celebrated harder than he has since he was in his 20s, even though he didn't party as hard as Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin did with the Stanley Cup.
"It's got such a great history. If it only could talk, we'd have some of the greatest stories ever," Trotz said of the vessel, which is slated to arrive in Dauphin on Wednesday morning.
"Instead of just taking a picture and looking at it it, you get to touch it and you get to drink from it," he said. "And then you get to a smaller group, which I want to get to at the end of the night, [Wednesday] night and just family.
"When you get to that point, I think what you feel is it's like a firepit: You stare at it and you realize it's something special."
Trotz, who coached hockey at the University of Manitoba before spending 15 seasons with the Nashville Predators and four with the Capitals, said he expected Washington to play the Winnipeg Jets in the Stanley Cup final, rather than the Vegas Golden Knights.
"They are on the cusp of greatness," Trotz said of Winnipeg, adding he does not believe the departure of Paul Stastny during the off-season will hurt the Jets in 2018-19.
"Winnipeg's built a terrific program. They got some superstars," he said. "The culture they've got with guys like Wheeler and Scheifele and Big Buff on the back end. Hellebuyck is going to be a real solid goaltender for a long time.
"They have so many pieces, they're going to be dangerous."
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In addition to the street renaming, the City of Dauphin is holding an afternoon parade for Trotz, who has pledged to match up to $75,000 in charitable donations made during his stay in his hometown.
Dauphin Mayor Allen Dowhan said a Cup win for the Dauphin coach is a big deal for the city of 8,457, as well as the Junior A Dauphin Kings, Trotz's former team.
"It's been a long time coming," Dowhan said at Tuesday's honorary street renaming. "It put Dauphin on the hockey map and put sense of pride to all who went through hockey in our community."
With tears in his eyes, Trotz's father Ernie said he knew his son might make it as a player in the National Hockey League but did not originally envision Barry's career behind the bench.
"When he said he'd make a better coach than a player, I thought yeah, he'd make a better coach than a player," Ernie Trotz said.
He said the street sign less than a block from home will serve as a daily reminder of his son's Stanley Cup victory.
"When he won, I just collapsed," the elder Trotz said, recalling how he watched the Cup-clinching game on TV, mere houses away. "I had tears in my eyes, me and the wife."