The last time Richard Trottier’s name was associated with the IIHF World Junior Championship was more than a quarter of a century ago. In 1985 and 1987, Trottier, then one of Canada’s top officials, refereed at the World Juniors in Finland and Czechoslovakia, respectively.
With the tournament returning to Canada in 2015, Trottier is returning to the event, although he won’t be involved with on-ice officiating. Instead, he’ll act as the coordinator of hosts for teams and officials.
“I kind of played that role at the Canada Games in New Brunswick in 2003,” he said. “I was part of the Quebec delegation and I worked alongside the male and female hockey and curling teams.”
Trottier sees the World Juniors as a chance to give back to the game, and be a part of something special.
“It’s an important event and I know a lot of people on the organizing committee,” he said. “They make a really great team, (and) I wanted to join them and contribute to the tournament’s success. If I can bring my expertise and help make this a memorable event, that’s even better.”
“There is no greater satisfaction than to be part of an organizing committee and see that the participants are happy. Of course winning or losing is important, but when they leave, it’s also great to see them leave with the feeling of having been welcomed and treated well.”
Trottier is no stranger to the highest levels of the game; he spent 13 years as an official in the National Hockey League, and 20 years in various roles with Hockey Quebec, including officiating coordinator, events coordinator, and communications and marketing director.
He also carried the whistle at the Canada Winter Games, Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship and Memorial Cup, carving out an officiating career that earned him the Hockey Canada Officiating Award in 2014.
“It was such an honour,” Trottier said of being recognized at the Hockey Canada AGM. “The award was mostly recognition of all my years with Hockey Canada, but to me is also a recognition of those that helped me and encouraged me to persevere and pursue my refereeing career.
“You can come quite a long way by yourself, but it is with the support of others and by demonstrating our passion for the sport that we can set an example and receive tributes. That’s why I’ve always liked to be part of event organizing committees since there is always the satisfaction of seeing that the participants have enjoyed their experience. In the end, that’s the real award.”
The return of the IIHF World Junior Championship to Canada, in the country’s two largest and most hockey-crazed cities, no less, means the bar has never been set higher.
Trottier, and the rest of the host committees in Toronto and Montreal, love that challenge.
“If the teams arrive here, plans are in place and every potential problem has been anticipated, then they can concentrate on what they have to do and that is compete at 100% on the ice,” he says.
“It’s up to us to rack our brains so that the services are there, that the problems are solved in advance and that every scenario has been planned for. That’s our real challenge!”