While it’s been a long journey aboard the Trotter train, Aaron Trotter is finally seeing his dreams come to fruition.
The 20-year-old Langford-born hockey goaltender has dreamt of playing NCAA hockey since he first laced up his skates.
Success on the ice took hard work – Trotter sent video reels to every B.C. Hockey League team trying to get recruited.
The work paid off, after playing a strong first season goaltending for the Prince George Spruce Kings in the BC Hockey League — he committed to the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and was offered a full scholarship. He was also selected for the BCHL all-star game in Penticton, until the game was cancelled.
Trotter’s dad, Michael, said NHL teams had expressed interest but Aaron told them he wanted to go to college.
“We’ve always said that if we can get him an education through sport, we’ve done our job as parents,” Michael said. “Anything after that is gravy.”
That’s not always been easy. When he was diagnosed with dyslexia at 13, Trotter struggled to get the help he needed at school.
After completing Grade 10 in the public system, he applied to attend Shawnigan Lake School, a private institution. If Trotter wanted to fulfill his dream of playing NCAA hockey, he knew he’d have to pick his grades up. He volunteered to repeat Grade 10 to help make his transcript look better to NCAA recruiters.
“If I hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t be in a position to even have an offer from an NCAA school,” he said. “I think it was a tough decision at the time, but it was really worth it.”
Michael Trotter said having his son attend private school after being in the public system was tricky and left he and wife Barbara figuring out how they would pay for tuition on their own. “We’re going to be working until we’re 75,” he said.
While at Shawnigan Lake School, Trotter learned more about his Metis heritage. He is fifth-generation Metis – Michael’s mother was born in Metis territory in Manitoba. Aaron’s helmet features the Metis flag and he played for BC in the Canada Indigenous Games in Grade 11. A professional career is still the dream, Trotter said, but he’s determined to finish school. St. Thomas recently became a Division I school and Trotter is excited to start building a legacy in a new program. Throughout his journey, he said, his parents have been his biggest supporters.
“They’ve always just kept me on the right mindset, not pressuring me necessarily to play hockey,” he said. “I feel like that’s why I kept the love for the game. It’s because I wanted to do it, it wasn’t for anyone else. It kind of gave me a sense of independence at a young age.”
To follow Trotter’s BCHL progress, visit bchl.ca/stats/player/6320/46/aaron-trotter.