Trocheck Learns From The Best On His Rise Up The NHL Ranks

Every NHL season brings its fair share of surprises, and one of the biggest this past year was the rise of Vincent Trocheck.

After being drafted in 2011 by the Florida Panthers, Trocheck spent time bouncing between the Panthers locker room and the team’s AHL-affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage. Now, as a regular in the Panthers’ lineup, Trocheck is living up to the expectations. In his first full NHL season, the 22-year-old was among the leading scorers as the Panthers captured its first Atlantic Division title.

“He’s been great,” Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant said. “He’s one of the key players on our team, one of our top scorers and he seems to play well for us every night. This year he really took off.”

As a member of the high-flying Panthers, Trocheck is in a unique position to learn from one of the legends of the game. Heading the team’s roster is Jaromir Jagr, who has yet to slow down after 22 NHL seasons. Back when Jagr was first drafted in 1990, many of the Panthers, including Trocheck, had not yet been born. Still, Jagr has been more than willing to share his knowledge of the game with his younger teammates.

Vincent Trocheck  #21

Position: Center
Shoots: Right
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 182 pounds
Birth Date: July 11, 1993
Hometown: Pittsburgh
Junior Hockey: Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Acquired: Selected by the Florida Panthers in the third round (64th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
USA Hockey History: Attended USA Hockey Player Development Camps as a 14, 15 and 16-year-old, and represented the United States at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup in 2010. He was a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. National Junior Team at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.

“I’ve learned a lot more from Jagr than people realize,” Trocheck said. “He’ll grab the young guys after practice and go through drills. So even just his work ethic is something you can learn from.”

It certainly appears that Trocheck has benefitted under Jagr’s tutelage, but even learning from one of the best can’t substitute for good, old-fashioned hard work. Despite reaching the pinnacle of the game, Trocheck refuses to be complacent.

“You always have to try to get better at pretty much every aspect of your game,” said Trocheck, who recently signed a six-year contract extension. “Every summer, I go back home and work on my game. I think this year, the one thing that I focused on was my defensive side, which has made big strides. You just have to work on the little skills all the time.”

Like many of his American peers, Trocheck attended a number of USA Hockey development camps, where he learned the foundations that continue to influence his game.

Growing up in Pittsburgh, Trocheck was also impacted by the success of his hometown Penguins. Around the time that Trocheck was born, the team won consecutive Stanley Cups, which ignited a resurgence in the popularity of the sport in the Steel City.

“That team definitely had an impact on me and on youth hockey,” he said.

It’s just further proof that as the NHL’s popularity grows, so does youth hockey in various parts of the country, including in the Panthers’ backyard.

“Even in Florida right now, youth hockey programs are really taking off, and I think it has a lot to do with the NHL teams that are in those cities,” Trocheck said. “It’s a movement that’s starting to take over.”

 


 

Youth Star

Hailey Ballone

Age: 12
Pittsford, N.Y.

For years, Hailey Ballone sat in the stands watching her favorite team, the Rochester Americans, battle on the ice.

“Then, one day, she just turned to us and told us that she wanted to play,” said Hailey’s mom, Jennifer. And that was that.

Now, with five years of experience under her belt, Hailey’s practically a hockey veteran.
One of her biggest accomplishments was being considered for the Tyler Putnam Award, which is given out to a Rochester Edge player who demonstrates hard work, excellent sportsmanship and commitment. And although Hailey didn’t win the award, it still means a lot to be recognized by her coach.

For this 12-year-old, the best part of hockey isn’t the accolades, or even the victories. She just loves being with her teammates.

When she’s not on the ice, Hailey loves the outdoors. She recently won six awards as a competitive rifle shooter.

As a seventh grader at Calkins Road Middle School, Hailey is a high honor roll student who loves math and dreams of becoming a marine biologist or an Army sniper.

Issue: 
2016-08

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