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Scott Trotter climbing hockey’s coaching ranks

Fort Macleod's Scott Trotter is head coach of the Coaldale Copperheads.

Fort Macleod’s Scott Trotter is head coach of the Coaldale Copperheads.

Scott Trotter continues his climb up the ranks this winter as head coach of the Coaldale Copperheads in the Heritage Junior Hockey League.
Trotter, 30, makes the move after coaching minor and AA teams, and spending one season as an assistant coach with the copperheads.
“I want to be a full-time coach,” Trotter said. “That was my goal going into it. I wanted to learn at every level and make it a career.”
Born and raised in Fort Macleod, Trotter played minor hockey here until joining the Crowsnest Pass-based Southwest Rockies of the South Central Midget AA Hockey League.
Trotter then spent three seasons with the Livingstone Rockmen of the Heritage Junior Hockey League.
When his playing career was over, it wasn’t a difficult decision for Trotter to join the coaching ranks.
“It was the love of the game,” Trotter said. “I wasn’t ready to give hockey up yet.”
Trotter spent three seasons coaching in his home town at the Pee Wee, Bantam and Midget levels.
Trotter coached Bantam AA and Midget AA with the Lethbridge Minor Hockey Association as well as Bantam AA with the Southwest Rockies.
Last year he joined the Copperheads coaching staff.
During his playing career, Trotter was paying attention to his coaches, learning the ins and outs of running a team.
“I’ve had a lot of great coaches,” Trotter said, listing long-time Fort Macleod Minor Hockey coach Randy O’Sullivan and Rod Fedyk of Claresholm as examples.
“I think it was the enjoyment of the game,” Trotter said of the biggest lesson he learned from his own coaches. “They made me enjoy it, they enjoyed showing up at the rink. I carried that over into coaching — I love going to the rink every day.”
When coaching minor hockey and AA teams, Trotter enjoyed helping the young players develop the skills to take them to the next level.
The situation is different at the Junior B level, where the players are attending university or college, or working full-time, while finishing off their competitive hockey careers.
“Most of these kids are going to be done after Junior B,” Trotter explained. “They just want to play with their buddies, but at the same time they want to win with their buddies.”
“I find it really easy to coach at the Junior B level because of that. They love coming to the rink because everyone is buddies, they’ve grown up together.”
Although they enjoy coming to the rink and hanging out with their buddies, the Copperheads are all business on the ice.
Trotter said the young men in his charge have developed the discipline they need to excel at work and in school, and that serves them well as athletes.
Trotter plans to help his team develop a commitment to hard work.
“I love hard work in hockey players,” Trotter said. “Southern Alberta is full of hard-working hockey players. They fight for spots on the team, they don’t quit, and that’s what I look for in a team.”
The Copperheads joined the Heritage league for the 2007-’08 season and won their first playoff championship in 2015.
Last season the Copperheads placed third in the southern division with 24 wins, 12 losses and two ties.
Coaldale beat Medicine Hat Cubs and Okotoks Bisons in the playoffs before losing to Cochrane Generals in six games in the southern division finals.
The Copperheads started their 2017-’18 training camp on Thursday, with about 50 players registered.
Coaldale draws its players from young men who have aged out of the AA and AAA systems in Lethbridge, as well as from University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College.
With that broad base to draw from, expectations are always high in Coaldale at the start of the hockey season.
“In Coaldale, the mentality is to win,” Trotter said.
Coaldale fans pack the rink for home games and they’re not shy about cheering for their team, creating one of the best atmospheres in the Junior B league.
“It’s definitely an advantage,” Trotter said. “The guys are just jacked stepping out on the ice.”
With that in mind, Trotter was taking a lower-key approach as the Copperheads opened their 2017-’18 training camp.
“I think it’s every coach’s goal to win the title, but the first goal is to make the playoffs, and then it’s a whole new season from there.”
Trotter, who lives in Lethbridge and works as a patching foreman with the City of Lethbridge, said he has had lots of help throughout his career.
“My family is always supportive,” Trotter said. “They’ve played a huge role in my coaching. My mom, my dad, my grandma, pretty much my entire family comes to my games. It’s kind of cool to see and helps me a lot.”

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