For some Thanksgiving means family, turkey and fixins. This year, for me, it meant interviewing NHLer Trevor Smith. Smith has spent time with various teams in the NHL but currently plays for the Milwaukee Admirals. Smith was born in Canada and hockey was in his blood from an early age. He played college hockey at the University of New Hampshire, originally signing with the New York Islanders. He broke out in 2009 eventually being called up by the Islanders. Before his pre-Thanksgiving game TGR caught up with one of the few Jewish NHLers to talk about his game.
1) When did you realize the NHL was a realistic goal?
The NHL was always the goal. It was a long road to get there. Part of it is being in the right place at the right time. Sometimes it could be as simple as a NHL team needing you for a roadtrip. Its important, while working your way to the NHL, to be one of the top two guys on your squad and hope to fill in the line that needs you.
2) What advice would you give to young hockey players?
Learn to skate. The young guys right now are great skaters. Train right away and work on skating.
3) Was playing in the NHL always something you wanted to do?
My first goal was a college scholarship. I got that at the University of New Hampshire. Then there started to be interest from NHL teams and it seemed realistic.
4) Your father coached in the Maccabi games. Did you ever want to play?
I did but I couldn’t because of a shoulder injury. But yes my father coached and loved it. He coached the Canadian team and they won.
5) What was your Jewish life like growing up?
Both of my parents are Jewish. I had a Bar Mitzvah and we always went on the High Holidays. We did Friday night dinners and I went to Camp Tikvah, a Jewish summer camp. I also went on Birthright with my brother. It was an amazing experience.
6) Who was your favorite player growing up?
No question. Doug Gilmour.