It has been nearly 40 years since a hockey season arrived without Barry Trotz coaching somewhere.
Think about that.
The 60-year-old started his coaching career in 1984 and never looked back. Until now. This offseason, Trotz decided, the time had finally come for a break.
That choice came after long deliberation, and to some degree, that long deliberation froze the NHL’s coaching carousel in May and June. Following Trotz’s surprising firing from the New York Islanders in early May, there was a well-publicized offer from the Winnipeg Jets to come home and coach. He also spoke with the Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers and Vegas Golden Knights.
He was the most sought-after person on the free-agent coaching market.
Until he removed himself from the market altogether.
“I needed time to make the right decision, and an unselfish decision,” Trotz said this week from his summer home in Vernon, BC.
But to hear Trotz describe his summer, one that featured him crisscrossing North America as he attended to family matters, the decision to spurn the many NHL coaching options in front of him was certainly the right one, as difficult as it was.
“Yeah, it was tough. I had a few teams who were obviously interested, but I just couldn’t give them an answer,” Trotz said. “I had to sort of, as we say, separate church and state.