Jordy Trottier is fulfilling his dream of playing professional hockey this season. The 23-year-old Metis is a rookie forward with the Illinois-based Bloomington Blaze, who compete in the Central Hockey League (CHL).
The CHL, a minor pro circuit, is considered a couple of steps below the National Hockey League, where Trottier's uncle Bryan carved himself a Hall of Fame career.
During his pro playing days, which lasted 18 seasons, Bryan Trottier won the Stanley Cup six times, four with the New York Islanders and twice more with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He then won a seventh title while serving as an assistant coach for the Colorado Avalanche. And he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997, the first year he was eligible.
Though he never made it to the NHL, Jordy's father Monty was also a pro player. During the '80s he had stints with teams in three different minor pro leagues.
Jordy's uncle Rocky (Bryan and Monty's youngest brother) is also an ex-pro. He spent most of his pro career in the minors but did play 38 games in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils.
Jordy Trottier had spent the past two seasons on a hockey scholarship at Bentley University, located in Waltham, a suburb of Boston. But he opted to leave school and return to his hometown of Indianapolis, where he could be closer to his family to be closer to his mother Cathy, who has cancer.
"She's been battling breast cancer for nine years," he said. "And it's now spread to other parts of her body. But she fights and fights. It's good to be around."
Trottier realizes though his mother's days are numbered.
"It's terminal," he said. "There's nothing we can do. We just take it day by day."
After returning home following his sophomore year at Bentley, Trottier wanted to keep playing hockey. He was invited this past fall to attend the training camp of the CHL's Fort Wayne Komets. This was ideal for him since the Komets are based in his home state of Indiana.
But Trottier did not manage to crack the Fort Wayne roster. Several weeks later he emailed Bloomington coach/director of hockey operations Paul Gardner to see if he might be interested in his services.
As it turned out, the Blaze were going to be shortstaffed for an early December match in another Indiana city, Evansville. So Gardner asked Trottier to play for the Blaze in that match.
"His family said thanks for the opportunity and for getting him into the game," Gardner recalled.
But the Blaze coach quickly confirmed Trottier would be seeing more action.
"He made an impression in that (Evansville) game," said Gardner, a former NHL player himself. "And I said I was going to keep him. He didn't come back on the team bus with us (that night) but I told him to get himself to Bloomington."
As mid-February approached, Trottier had appeared in 23 games for the Blaze. He had earned eight points in those matches, including five goals.
"I always wanted to play pro," he said. "Growing up with three family members that played pro it was something that inspired me."
Since Bloomington is about a three-hour drive from Indianapolis, Trottier's mother has been able to see him in action on several occasions.
"She comes to almost half my games," he said.
Gardner has told Trottier he can take time away from the Blaze when he needs to be with his family. He did return home when he was placed on the 10-day disabled list in December but that's because he had strep throat.
"He doesn't speak very much about it," Gardner added of the battle Cathy Trottier is enduring.
Gardner though speaks rather highly of his forward, who has been primarily used at left wing but has also played center.
"There's everything to like about him," he said. "He's a true pro. And he's always upbeat."
Trottier, who is 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, was never drafted by an NHL team. He's heard various reasons why.
"I'm not a very big guy," he said. "I'm not a good skater. And I was a late bloomer. I've heard the whole gamut. Maybe though I just wasn't good enough."
Now that he's playing pro, Trottier has not abandoned his hope of eventually suiting up for an NHL club.
"It's always a dream," he said. "It gives you something to work towards."
Trottier added though he left Bentley University, where he was majoring in finance with a minor in literature, he plans on continuing his education. He is expected to finish off his degree in a couple of years by taking summer classes at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.