Trotz Gives His Reasons for Not Coaching Next Season
Barry Trotz has announced that he will not be coaching in the NHL next season because he is unable to devote the time and energy necessary to perform at his usual level.
The 59-year-old claimed in an exclusive interview with NHL.com on Friday that he has given much thought to whether or not to take another position in the League after being sacked by the New York Islanders on May 9. He has decided to prioritise his family and his own life.
“I’ve got some things personally that I’ve got to take care of, family-wise that I’ve got to take care of,” Trotz said Friday. “I didn’t feel… if I’d said I’ll take the job, I think I would have done any team a little bit of a disservice and myself a disservice because to be a coach in the NHL, it is demanding and it requires your all. It just does, emotionally it just does, mentally it just does. So I couldn’t go down that path.
“It doesn’t mean I’m not going to coach. Just not going to coach right now. I’ve been doing this for 25 straight years and I’ve put a lot of stuff on the back burner and I think it’s time. The one thing I do know, and it’s a mistake that everybody makes, is you think you have time and you don’t. And so this is my time when I can get to a lot of things I’ve put on the back burner. I have to take care of those, for peace of mind for everything so I will be 100 percent in if I get back into it and I’ll be a better coach for it.”
Since the 1998-99 season, Trotz has worked with the Nashville Predators, the Washington Capitals, and the New York Islanders, compiling a career record of 914-670-168 with 60 ties in 1,812 regular season games (.567 points percentage).
His 914 victories rank third all-time in NHL history.
Trotz is 83-79 in the playoffs, having made the tournament 14 times in his 23 seasons as a head coach. In 2018, he and the Capitals won the Stanley Cup.
With the Capitals in 2015-16 and the Islanders in 2018-19, Trotz received the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s best coach on both occasions.
Canadian native and potential Winnipeg Jets coach Barry Trotz informed the franchise on Friday that he will not be returning for the upcoming season.
“Winnipeg came after me in terms of wanting me to be part of the organization and I was really impressed with their commitment to winning, their commitment with [Kevin Cheveldayoff] as (general) manager. I know [assistant GM Craig Heisinger] and other people there. I’ve got relatives that work for the Jets and friends that work security there, people I went to school with. I know lots about the Jets. They’ve got a tremendous organization and a real family atmosphere. But I could not commit to any team; it wasn’t just Winnipeg, it was every team that I had talked to because I had to know I was 100 percent in.”
When the Islanders dismissed him after four seasons, Trotz said he instantly recognised he should not hurry into a decision and began talking to other clubs.
It is impossible to succeed in this line of work unless you are willing to give it your all, around the clock. I was provided with opportunities, but I was not ready to commit until I completed the process. I am aware that everyone’s schedule is different, but I have already stated that I am not in a rush and do require some time.
“You can’t do this job unless you’re 100 percent committed to giving everything 24/7,” he said. “I had some opportunities presented to me but I knew I couldn’t commit and I wanted to go through the process. I know everybody’s timeline was different… but I said I’m in no hurry and I need some time.
“Knowing that made it really tough because I saw the commitment of what Winnipeg was a), willing to do, their commitment to winning and all that and [b)], their people. They’re good people. I’ve talked to a number of teams that are full of good people but this one was tough for me because it’s my home province. I’ve got a lot of people that I know and a lot of people I’ve crossed paths with in the past. And I knew how passionate this fan base is.
“I had to turn away free beer and free tickets and all that stuff. I know I’m a good coach but you can’t be a good coach if you’re not fully committed. You can’t be at this game. So I’ll use this year to do what I need to do with my family and if I get back into coaching, I’ll be fully in.”
“That’s where maybe the cloudiness came in, because of that strong pull,” Trotz said. “And then you see the commitment to winning they do have and ‘Chevy’ and Mark [Chipman, Jets chairman and governor] and [Heisinger] and all those people, those are people you want to work with.
“So that pull was strong but at the same time you have to look inside and say, ‘Do what’s right.’ Some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten was when you have a hard decision, do what’s right, don’t do what’s popular or don’t do what people expect you to do or want you to do. So do what’s right. When I looked inside, I knew what was right. It’s right for me to take a step back here and get things done that I need to get done. I love the game and I love doing what I’ve been doing and without the game or without hockey, it’s difficult. It’ll be strange for me. I’ve been [coaching] for 26 years so all of a sudden, I might be watching from the sidelines for a while.”
Trotz said he was not discouraged by the Islanders’ (37-35-10) first-ever failure to make the playoffs under his leadership or by the NHL in general. When last we saw New York, they were advancing to the third round of the playoffs for the second year in a row.
“No, not at all,” he said. “It was just bizarre. We had a bizarre season. I’ve been in the League a long time and you can only control what you can control and there was a lot of stuff that was out of our control. I can honestly say zero point zero on that one. I totally understand everything and I have so much respect for Lou [Lamoriello, Islanders GM]. I talked to him today. We’ve got a great relationship. That was not a factor at all.”
Trotz has stated that even though he would be taking time away from the NHL, he will not be neglecting his many professional and personal ties.
“I always stay current, so trust me, I’ll be watching,” Trotz said. “I’ll be talking to people. I will be doing all those things I’ve always done as part of staying current and what the League is all about because it always changes.
“[It’s] an opportunity to energize myself and make good with the time I have. I will stay involved. I still have good relationships with Lou and the Islanders, good relationships with teams I’ve been with in the past and the players and the coaches. I will stay involved and when I feel like I’m ready to jump back in, I’ll be fully two feet in and watch me go. I just need time. I’ve said it up front to everybody I talked to. I need time. I just do. I didn’t want to sell anybody short on what I’m capable of doing. When you sign on, you have to be all in. That’s how you win. You’re going to see it on TV night in and night out in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. You have to be all in. And I take that personally, too.”