Barry Trotz might not remember telling me about his dream to become an NHL coach. But I do.
It was 1984. Trotz was a first-year assistant to Wayne Fleming, head coach of the University of Manitoba Bisons. Following a playoff victory against the visiting University of Regina Cougars, a young reporter from the Regina Leader-Post needed to get quickly to the faraway Winnipeg airport. Trotz offered me a ride to the other side of town.
En route he told me about his hockey career, how he had played junior for the Regina Pats and later discovered in minor-pro that his bosses were more interested in making him into a coach than a shutdown defenceman.
So he was learning his new trade, with the intention of taking it as far as he could. It led him through the AHL to 15 years with the Nashville Predators to becoming head coach of the Washington Capitals, who resume vying for the Stanley Cup tonight.
And he wouldn’t take any money for that ride to the airport!