Hockey Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier will once again find himself behind the bench.
Trottier, who served from 2014-2015 as the Buffalo Sabres assistant coach, will this time be coaching in the newly formed 3ICE league.
Set to officially kick off in June 2021, league commissioner Craig Patrick announced last spring that Trottier, who is the proud owner of seven Stanley Cup rings, will be one of the eight head coaches.
“I think it’s an opportunity for all of us to stay in the game,” Trottier said. “I really enjoy being part of something that’s innovative and at the same time, work with young players. We’re high-energy coaches.”
Trottier was selected in the 1974 Entry Draft in the first round — 22nd overall by the New York Islanders. He executed an NHL career which over 15 seasons with the Islanders and three with the Pittsburgh Penguins, saw him play in 1,279 games, where he scored 524 goals and 1,425 points.
Following his playing career, which saw him win four Stanley Cups with the Islanders and two with the Penguins, Trottier, was inducted in 1997 into the Hockey Hall of Fame. During, his induction speech, ‘Trots’ as he is affectionately known, thanked his mom for educating him and making him proud of his Indigenous ancestry.
This eight-time NHL All-Star embarked on his coaching career with the Penguins when following his career, he served from 1993-1994 until 1996-1997 as the assistant coach.
Following his time as a Penguins coach, Trottier, who has Metis, Cree, Chippewa ancestry, was hired by the Colorado Avalanche as an Assistant Coach which really paid dividends in 2001 when he helped them to a Stanley Cup.
Finally, in 2002 Trottier got his chance as a head coach after the New York Rangers hired him in what turned out to be an unforgettable stint as he led the blue shirts to a 21-26-6 record in his one and only stint as an NHL head coach.
In 2015 he was let go from his assistant coaching position.
Years later, Trottier is ready to grab the coaching reigns in the new eight team league which instead of regular season games consists of weekend tournaments of 3 on 3 hockey to be held in yet to be determined venues in Canada and the States.
“Craig said, Bryan, I think this will be a fun thing to do for a year,” Trottier said, in reference about Craig Patrick pitch. “See if you like it. If you don’t like it, at least you tried it.”
Each team will have six skaters and a goalie, and each tournament game will be two eight-minute periods with the action being streamed online.
“I think it will be action packed, very few whistles,” Trottier said. “We’re going to try and keep the action moving because there’s going to be a few games every night.”
In terms of rosters, coaches will be observing next February a tryout involving approximately 120 talented players including former NHL players along with AHL and ECHL calibre experienced players. Afterwards, the coaches will be able to pick rosters from a supplemental draft.
“We’re going to try and get the highest talent we can,” Trottier said “I think it’s an opportunity for some NHL guys at the end of their career, AHL guys, high skill guys that want to play. It’s an opportunity to showcase their skills and maybe get one more look.”
The teams will play in eight tournaments, which will be held on Saturdays in what will be a single loss elimination format. Over the months, whichever four teams accumulate the most points over these tourneys will officially advance to compete for gold in the deciding Championship weekend.
Along with Trottier, also scheduled to coach are such elite talents as fellow NHL hall of famers Grant Fuhr, Larry Murphy, Guy Carbonneau, Larry Murphy and Angela Ruggiero. Rounding out the coaches include former NHL 50 goal scorer John LeClair and Ed Johnson.
“It’s firewagon hockey,” Trottier said. “I think that makes it unique. That was part of the sell. It’s an opportunity to showcase our game on the high skill side.”