This isn’t a piece regarding whether Barry Trotz should have or should not have been brought back to coach the Preds next season.
No, I’m not arguing those merits, and I hope in the comments section below that you won’t either.
Instead, I’d like to just take a few moments and share some thoughts on Coach Trotz.
I was 14 years old when Barry Trotz was hired to become the Preds’ first head coach. I’m now 30 and will turn 31 in July, just three days before Trotz’s birthday.
At that time, I figured he might get three, maybe four years to help the team get off the ground. In no way, shape or form did I ever foresee getting to 2014 with Trotz still at the helm.
Yet, here we are, on April 14, 2014, turning a page in the franchise’s history with the announcement that Trotz would not be behind the Preds’ bench next season.
Let that sink in for a second. Barry Trotz has served in that capacity for 6,097 days.
He fathered this team through its infancy, from the days of Tom Fitzgerald, Sergei Krivokrasov and Mike Dunham.
He took it through the little kid stage, through the Scott Walker, Tomas Vokoun and Scott Hartnell version of the Preds, into the pre-teen years with the Paul Kariya, Jason Arnott and Alexander Radulov 1.0 team. Those versions were able to go to school in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and really learn what it took to be in the upper echelon of NHL teams. And people took notice.
He’s overseen the teenage years, when it might’ve seem a bit rebellious with the Brostityns and Rads 2.0, and engineered a team that others couldn’t take lightly, even when they probably had no business being in the postseason.
But that is what Barry Trotz is, and what he does. He got more out of less than you or I ever could have imagined. He did these things with these teams because of what he is, what kind of person he is, and who he is.
When we go to write the annals of this franchise somewhere down the line, we’ll have to start with him. When the "Ring of Honor" or some form of it is established, we’ll have to start with him. When we talk about "The Predator Way" in years to come, we’ll have to remember him. When he catches on with another NHL team and comes back to coach in the Tire Barn, we’ll have to remember him. And hope his team doesn’t beat us.
I could sit here and talk about all the things Trotz has done in the community, how much of a family man he is and what a wonderful person he is. I’ve dealt with him firsthand and I believe it all. I don’t have to say it here, because his name alone should conjure those thoughts of the man who helped start it all. Without him, we might not be sitting here today talking about this, because there simply might not be a team here. He was one of the reasons Predators hockey was worth keeping here.
And now, this franchise that we come here to talk about, watch and interact with others about is beginning to mature. It’s still a teenager, but not for much longer. Trotz helped us get here, but now we have to go our separate ways. One day, hopefully sometime soon, we’ll look back and say he helped build the foundation to get us to the Promised Land and parade down Broadway with Lord Stanley’s Cup.
And when that day comes, I’ll be certain to take a second and remember him for who and what he is, has been and always will be to us. Our Coach. Nashville Predators hockey will not be the same without Barry Trotz behind the bench. Here’s to 15 seasons of dedication, and to success wherever he may go.
Coach Trotz, thank you.