Bryan Trottier’s earliest memory of the National Hockey League (NHL) was when Jean Béliveau, along with the rest of the Montreal Canadiens, won the Stanley Cup in 1965.
Instead of hoisting the Stanley Cup up above his head as people typically do, Béliveau, as Trottier put it, kind of hugged the massive trophy. This memory stuck with Trottier as he grew from being an eight-year-old hockey fan into a widely-beloved hockey player who won four consecutive Stanley Cups with the New York Islanders and was later named one of the 100 greatest NHL players in history.
Following Trottier’s story, from his experience growing up around music and hockey in Saskatchewan as part of a big Cree-Métis-Irish family to his veteran career as a coach, All Roads Home: A Life On and Off the Ice is Trottier’s expansive and heartfelt memoir.
I feel like I’ve been cajoled into knowing more about hockey than I would have ever expected to, seeing as I have reviewed both this memoir and All The Way by Jordin Tootoo so far for the Yellowknifer.
Considering how deeply I enjoyed both works, I might just go all in on sports writing and pick up a pile of sports biographies to see if I can find another few that shine as strongly as Trottier’s and Tootoo’s stories.
Do I play hockey? No. Do I know anything about the game? Not much. Do I keep up with the Stanley Cup playoffs? You couldn’t pay me to. Yet, regardless of your own experience in hockey, whether you’ve played it, watched it, or simply heard of it, All Roads Home is a lively, detailed, and heartfelt look into the game as well as the business and community sides of the sport.
Just like Tootoo, Trottier is thoughtful and generous in a way that really comes through in this book, as he always makes time to recognize and appreciate the people in his life and the ways that they impacted him.
Throughout Trottier’s reflections on his life and career, joined by Canadian sports journalist Stephen Brunt, he continually centres one of the simple truths that his father taught him – that he could always come home.
One big thing I took from this book was the extent that his family’s emotional support, possibly more than their financial support, let him play and love hockey in a way that paved the way for his successful career. Set to be released next Tuesday, All Roads Home carries Trottier’s strong voice in this reflective memoir that spans his incredibly successful career playing hockey for two national teams, two NHL teams, and winning seven Stanley Cups in total.