Taking a look at Islanders coach Barry Trotz and the bond with his special needs son, Nolan.
Maybe I’m just that far out of the loop but I learned something recently about the Islanders head coach Barry Trotz. I was reading an article from the NHL website, where Barry Trotz described his time in quarantine and he discussed the NHL going on break.
During this interview, there was a question about Trotz’s son, Nolan in particular. Nolan is a 19-year-old special needs child. Like I said, maybe I’m just that out of the loop but I had no idea that Barry had a special needs son, so I decided to read more about the Trotz family and boy was I in for a treat.
The bond between Barry and his son seems like a special one. The Washington Post did a feature on the Trotz family as Barry got the job with the Capitals and you see the things that he does for him and it brings a smile to your face.
The article goes all the way back to the beginning when Nolan was born. The Trotz family was worried, after his birth Nolan spent nine hours with the doctors. When the doctors came back into the room and explained the condition the family took it in an extremely positive fashion.
In this 2001 article, Barry Trotz explained what it was like to get that news.
"“It was a little bit of a shock,” Trotz said. “We got over it. We could have had the amniocentesis to find that out, but we didn’t do it because it wouldn’t have mattered one way or the other. Whatever God gave us as a child, that’s what we were happy to have…I never had the emotion of ‘Why us?'” Trotz said. “It was ‘Why him?’ I was more worried about him than I was worried about anything else.”‘"
What an honestly touching quote. It became evident through the process of reading up on the family that Barry would do anything for his son, and to help others who may be going through similar things that Nolan is.
In 2008, Trotz got involved with Best Buddies, an organization of volunteers who pair up with a special needs person. On the night Barry made his first speech for Best Buddies, the foundation raised $30,000 and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
Two years later, they hit their goal of raising $200,000. They would hold events in Bridgestone Arena, where the Predators play and Barry truly did a number of great things for the Nashville chapter of Best Buddies.
When they moved to Washington, the transition wasn’t easy at first for Noal. He was used to his life in Nashville, and he missed his siblings who now were back in Nashville. Well, the Trotz family began taking him around the monuments and the buildings and that’s when it clicked.
They spent nearly three hours at the Lincoln Memorial and he loved it. That’s when the Trotz family was confident that he would be able to get acquainted with his new home.
It worked out well there for the Trotz family. After winning the Stanely Cup in 2018, Nolan was up on the float with his dad soaking in the moment.
When Trotz joined the Islanders, he brought initial success to this franchise which earned him the Jack Adams trophy, the second time in his career he won that award. To no surprise, Nolan was right there alongside him as well that night.
Now, Barry and Nolan are home together spending time with his older brother during this quarantine. There’s more to life than sports, and when you see the person behind the athlete or coach it normalizes things a little bit.
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I’m happy that I went down this rabbit hole of the Trotz family and the story was too good to share. Thanks for everything Barry, on and off the ice you’re truly a special person with a beautiful family.