’ has brought strength, leadership and tenacity to the ice and the locker room. He’s played at every level – juniors, ECHL, AHL, and finally the NHL. And at 32-years-old, he played his first full NHL season last year, battling alongside his teammates through some of the most difficult times any team has had to face.
He made an impact as the team’s enforcer, and that impact caused Islanders General Manager Garth Snow to re-sign Gillies to a two-way deal on Friday, June 17.
“I couldn’t be more honored to put on the Islanders crest for another year,” Gillies said. “It’s just a great group of guys and I believe we have a really bright future. I’m happy to be a small part of that. My family couldn’t be more thrilled.”
|Trevor Gillies #14 of the New York Islanders skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Nassau Coliseum on April 8, 2011 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) |
Gillies means more to the Islanders than the enforcer with his tough guy persona, complete with a handlebar ‘stache, a willingness to drop the gloves and a remarkable ability to make Islanders opponents fear a punch.
“I’m willing to sacrifice for us by blocking shots or getting into fights or just playing a tough, hard game,” Gillies said. “We have a great group of skilled guys. I’m happy to be that small piece to a puzzle, be the enforcer and be the tough guy, but also a big brother to the guys.”
Those characteristics may have been the initial drive which brought the forward to Long Island, but there’s a whole lot more to Gillies which has made him an integral part of the core. In fact, it’s what fans don’t see, the behind the scenes, that makes Gillies even more of a valuable commodity.
“There’s a lot more to hockey than just goals and assists,” Gillies said. “You need all types of personalities and all types of guys that are willing to play a certain role. Not everyone can be the goal scorer. As much as I’d like to do that, that’s not in the cards for me. I take great pride in my role.”
He’s a positive man. He’s upbeat and driven to succeed. Each practice, Gillies steps on the ice early and stays late. He spends extra time in the weight room. He takes direction, asks questions and believes there’s always something new to learn.
How he acts and what he does inside the locker room or at practice, exemplifies the characteristics of a great role model for a younger core, but they are also the traits of a great teammate.
“He doesn’t play all that much, but when he does, he works hard every shift,” said Islanders power forward Matt Martin
. “But he’s so much more to this team. He’s one of the biggest leaders behind the scenes. You have to admire the long road he’s taken (to get to the NHL) and how hard he’s worked to get here. He never takes anything for granted.”
|Islanders forward Trevor Gillies poses with Sophia Gaynor and her parents after filming a PSA about Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) on Feb. 18, 2011. |
Martin continued, “He goes all out every day, but at the same time, he wants to help all of us succeed and get better. I know that first-hand because he helped me so much my first year in Bridgeport. He’s just a great person all around.”
Not only is Gillies a great guy to have in the locker room, setting that example, but he also makes sure to take time out of his schedule to give back to the Long Island community.
“Having Trevor Gillies
and his wife Danielle back here on Long Island means a lot to the Islanders,” said Islanders Community Relations Manager Ann Rina. “They were very active in our community. Trevor is a great guy to work with. He’s the friendliest person you could imagine. He has a huge, huge heart. Whether going to the schools or hospitals, he’s made himself widely available to us for many causes.”
Rina added, “He’s done a few Public Service Announcements for the Sophia’s Cure Foundation and just to see how compassionate he was towards the families was unbelievable. It has been a pleasure to work with him and I’m glad he’ll be a part of the team next year.”
So are Garth Snow, his teammates, and the thousands of Islanders faithful that follow him day-in and day-out.