A childhood friend and teammate of Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz says success was going to follow the 55-year-old wherever he went.
Trotz - who grew up in Dauphin, Man. - recently coached the Capitals to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
Darrell Aitken - who now works for the city of Dauphin - grew up with Trotz and the two played baseball and hockey together. He says no matter what the sport they played, Trotz always put in a great effort.
"He was a hard worker and played that way," Aitken said. "Even in minor hockey he was always the best skater and the best player on the team."
The #StanleyCaps! #ALLCAPS#StanleyCuppic.twitter.com/0DZlPFO95G— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) June 8, 2018
Trotz played in the Western Hockey League with the Regina Pats for three seasons between 1979 and 1982 before returning to his hometown to play for the Manitoba Junior Hockey League's Dauphin Kings. He helped the Kings to the MJHL and Anavet Cup titles in 1983.
He then coached at the University of Manitoba and with the Dauphin Kings before moving into the professional ranks as an assistant and then head coach with Washington's American Hockey League clubs. In 1994, he led the Portland Pirates to a Calder Cup championship.
In 1998-99 he became the head coach of the Nashville Predators, where he remained for 15 seasons before taking the job in Washington, where he has been for the past four years.
"He was small in stature but he went up to junior and always worked hard," Aitken said. "He played defence and he was always a good, smooth-skating defenceman and he's become a very good coach."
Aitken says people in Dauphin were glued to their televisions during the Stanley Cup Final, and just about everybody was cheering for the Capitals.
"The community is very proud of Barry and his accomplishments," Aitken said. "Everyone was talking about the playoffs."
Congratulations Dauphin’s Barry Trotz and the @Capitals on winning the #StanleyCup tonight!!! #MJHL#NHL 👑 pic.twitter.com/LV1ClyMteq— Dauphin Kings (@dauphinkings) June 8, 2018
Aitken says Trotz still has solid roots in Dauphin, as his parents are fixtures in the community.
"His father Ernie still sells 50/50 at the Kings' games and always has a big smile on his face," Aitken said. "I haven't seen his parents yet, but I'm sure they're very proud and very happy for him."
As far as the Stanley Cup goes, Aitken says people are hoping Trotz will bring it back to Dauphin to celebrate with the community.
"That would be something great for our city is to have a bit of a celebration with Barry and the Stanley Cup here."