OLDS — Eighteen-year-old Olds Grizzlys defenceman Avery Trotter wanted to focus on hockey; improving his game rather than worrying about school, so he finished high school early.
“I went ahead and did all my classes in advance, just so I’d have more time to focus on hockey,” he said during an interview with the Albertan.
“A couple of years of summer school there, but it all worked out and I’m glad I did what I did.”
The Olds resident made the jump from the Midget AAA Red Deer Optimist Chiefs a couple of seasons ago.
According to the Elite Prospects website, Trotter stands 6’2” and weighs 196 pounds.
“Hockey’s always been my number 1 sport,” he said.
With high school out of the way, during the past couple of seasons Trotter has been working on a priority of head coach/GM Scott Atkinson: the defensive side of the game.
“Defence is the number 1 thing,” Trotter said. “Obviously you’ve got to play defence before you can play offence, so I think the main key is to be strong defensively and I have been.
“(I) like what he’s doing with the younger guys; building up a good strong team here that all buys in to his philosophy. I think he’s doing a really good job there and I'm all for it.”
Trotter said improving the defensive part of his game has not only been a priority during the season, but also the off season.
He noted that in junior A hockey, the players move faster, so you’ve got to be ready and think quickly.
“I think the D-zone is really huge,” he said. “You’ve got to stay with your guy. If one guy loses his man, it can create chaos, so really making sure you’ve got your head on a swivel in the defensive zone and capitalizing on your chances in the offensive zone.”
Trotter is hoping to continue his career in NCAA hockey (Division 1 if possible) or university hockey.
When he hangs up his skates, he’d like to “stay relatively close to sports.”
“Obviously sports is huge in my life so I have looked into sports psychology a little bit. I like the mental side of the game. I read quite a bit about that,” he said, adding sports therapy is another possibility.
But Trotter said he may also end up working with his brother, who planned to study architecture.