Growing up in Salt Lake City, all Trevor Lewis
wanted to do was play hockey. He knew he had the skill and the will to go far, but even he never thought this could be his life.
"I always thought I would make it [to the NHL], but I was a little, skinny runt back then, so I had to get a lot stronger and work on my game," he explained. "Then, once I made it, I hoped I'd have the opportunity to win a Stanley Cup, but I don't know that I ever thought I'd actually win it, let alone win it twice and now I'm over here at the World Championship… I just never thought this would happen.
"I haven't even had the chance [to play in the world championship] in a while because we've been playing in the playoffs the past couple years," Lewis continued. "But I'm getting a little older and I just didn't know if it would ever happen. Then, I got the call and I was really excited to play for USA again and play for my country. I'm really happy I'm here, I think we've got a great team and it's been a lot of fun."
The son of a transplanted Canadian, Lewis learned to skate when he was two years old.
"I kind of had no choice what sport I was going to play when I was young." he said with a laugh. "We had a rink right across the street from my house and my dad would take me over there almost every day and by the time I was five I started playing real hockey."
There weren't many options for his development, so Lewis would just play on whatever team he could and travel to as many tournaments as he could.
"Looking back, it was probably really good for me because I got to play a lot more since we only had 10 or 12 guys on the team, but as I got older, there just weren't enough guys to make a good enough team to be competitive and have the opportunities I wanted to have," Lewis explained. "To make it anywhere, you had to get out of there. So, I moved to Colorado."
Lewis wanted to improve on his skills and get noticed in hopes of advancing his hockey career. So, at the age of 14, he left his family in Utah and moved in with a billet family in Colorado Springs where he played for the Pike's Peak Miners AAA team.
"My two best friends had gone over there the year before and I knew what to expect from it," he said. "So, the next year, when I went to high school, I went there to try out and ended up making the team and moved.
"I ended up staying there for two years. My second year we had a great team and actually won a few tournaments and at regionals we ended up losing, but I still think we should have won and gone to nationals….we had a really good team." he said, still very irked about that loss.
At 16, he was drafted by Cedar Rapids in the USHL, but didn't make the team. He went down to Texarkana to play in the NAHL, but before the season even started, Lewis got a call from Des Moines in the USHL asking if he'd want to play for them.
"Easy question," Lewis said. "I dropped everything and went to Iowa. My first year there, I think we only won ten games all year, but the second year we ended up winning the Clark Cup [as the league's champion]. So, that was fun."
That summer he was drafted 17th overall by the Los Angeles Kings, signed his first professional contract two weeks later and joined the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL, where he put up 73 points in 62 games.
While the points were a big part of his game, Lewis also knew that he'd have to play a solid 200-ft. game if he was going to make it to the next level.
"I think being a strong two-way guy was key to my success because, honestly, I don't think I would have made it if I relied only on my offensive abilities, but that's why I worked really hard at it," he explained. "I knew I had to play a really good two-way game and be as good defensively as I was offensively."
It's that attitude that also helped him earn a spot on USA Hockey's National Junior Team for the 2007 World Junior Championship, where he helped them win a bronze medal.
He'd play the next four seasons in Manchester playing for the Kings AHL affiliate. Lewis was still putting up points, but settled into his role as a strong two-way player, which earned him a full time spot on the Kings roster.
Five seasons with the Kings and two Stanley Cup rings later, Lewis found himself as an alternate captain for Team USA at the 2015 IIHF World Championship in Czech Republic.
"It's a big honor any time you get to represent your country, but also to be able to wear a letter - It's huge! - and then to play with some of these young kids...they look NHL ready to me. They're great players with a lot of skill and it's been really fun. There's a lot of young energy and they're teaching me a thing or two - a lot of sayings that I've never heard of….I'm learning…slowly, but I'm learning. It makes me feel really old," said the 28-year-old laughing.
With the youngest team in the tournament, including five players right out of college, an average age of 24.8 and only one player over 30, USA head coach Todd Richards relies heavily on Lewis' experience.
"He's a really steady reliable guy," Richards said. "He thinks the game well and he's good positionally. He's a trustworthy guy to have on the ice when the game's on the line whether it's offensively or defensively, he's the guy that's going to go out and execute and do the right thing. Doesn't mean it's going to be perfect all the time, but you know the intent is there.
"He's definitely one of the guys that you lean on just because of his experience with the big games and the big moments that he's already played," he continued. "Two Stanley Cups. Says a lot right there, but your leaders don't have to be vocal guys. They have to be guys that do the right things and he does the right things."
Just like he wanted more for himself at 14 when he moved to Colorado to pursue a goal, he wants more for himself now that he's achieved that goal and then some. He just wants to keep pushing to see how far he can go and how much he can accomplish.
"After we won the second Stanley Cup, I kind of sat back and said 'Woah...this is crazy! I can't believe how far I've made it.' but I try not to think about that now. When I retire, I'll have time to think about it then and really realize all the things I've accomplished and be proud of that, but right now I just want to keep moving forward and winning hockey games and adding to the list," he explained. "I've got a lot of hockey left to play."
This weekend he was able to add World Champion Medalist to that list as USA defeated Czach Republic 3-0 to win the bronze at O2 Arena in Prague.
"We had a young group and I thought we battled hard all the way through and had a great tournament," Lewis said. "No one thought we'd do anything at this tournament, so to come away from here with a medal is awesome. I'm really proud of the whole team."