By Trevor Lewis
My story begins at age two in Salt Lake City, Utah...
I actually grew up with an ice rink right across from my house so when I was about 2 I think my dad took me over there for the first time. I don’t remember it much but I just remember him kind of carrying me around the ice and I would go over there pretty much every day.
I think I started playing organized hockey when I was about 5 years old. I just played for the house league in Utah and I grew up playing that and travel hockey. Despite the cold weather element to Utah there actually wasn’t a lot of hockey there at all. I think for most of my years growing up we had about 12 guys on our team when we traveled. To make it in hockey I think that you kind of have to get out there at a young age. I left when I was 15 to go play in Colorado, but it’s starting to grow in Utah especially after the Olympics came there. It’s starting to pick up and it’s getting better.
Hockey wasn’t the only sport I played as a kid. I played football, basketball and soccer too. My worst sport was probably soccer as I just hated the practices. But I think I was pretty decent at each sport. I always loved hockey the most, though, so when we had a hockey game and a football game at the same time I would always choose hockey and I think I stopped playing everything else when I was about 15.
It was probably around the time I was 7 or 8 when I first started to travel to play hockey. My first travel league team traveled to California, Las Vegas, Colorado and all around New Mexico. We usually always took car rides with families but a couple times we went up to Canada and took a bus so that was pretty fun when we got to do that. We would fly very rarely, maybe to Texas or something like that.
There is obviously not an NHL team in Utah – we have the Utah Jazz, but I never really cheered for them or followed them – yet I still followed the game at a high level. As a kid I always wanted to play in the USHL and from there I kind of realized that maybe I could take this further and so I kept going with it. We also had the Utah Grizzles, first at the IHL level and then at ECHL level. Every youth hockey team was named after the Grizzlies when I was growing up and I would go to every single game when they were in the IHL. That was kind of a big thing for us back home.
My favorite player on the Grizzlies when I was younger was Derek Armstrong. They once had a Grizzlies used equipment sale and my dad got a pair of his skates and he still wears them when he plays. It’s pretty funny. When I first got drafted by the Kings, Army was still here. That was definitely crazy but it’s a lot of fun to think about.
Like I said earlier, I moved away for midget hockey and I moved to Colorado when I was 15 years old. My best buddy went out there the year before and I went out there and followed him the year after and it was definitely the right move because it was a lot more competitive hockey. Leaving home like that was definitely very nervous for me. I got really homesick but luckily I had a couple friends over there so that helped me a lot.
|Trevor Lewis scored his first NHL goal against the Detroit Red Wings in 2008. |
From there I played for the USHL club in Des Moines, Iowa. I actually got drafted in one of the later rounds and didn’t make the team but I ended up going to the NAHL and about two weeks into it I got a call from Des Moines and they asked if I wanted to come play so I just drove up there. Hockey in Iowa is actually pretty fun. Football is huge there but once the high school football season dies down it gets pretty crazy when it comes to hockey.
From there I went to the Owen Sound Attack in the OHL. I just kind of ended up there after I got drafted by the Kings and I thought it would be better for my development. I am happy I did it as it was a lot of fun. I used to play with Wayne Simmonds there and I am very happy I did it.
Before I went there, though, I was drafted by the Kings in the first round. My agent had told me that I would be late first round or second round so I didn’t really know at all how things would play out on draft day. It was kind of a long process but it was a lot of fun for me to hear my name called. It was pretty special and I was happy to be a King.
After that it was to Owen Sound for one year and then I went to Manchester for the playoffs there. It was a lot better hockey with the Monarchs. Everyone was a lot bigger and a lot better. I didn’t play that much but I did pretty well so I knew I could play there the next year and have confidence. Being in Manchester as a first round pick, I had pressure on me but I think it was good for me. I think I needed the development in Manchester so I just kind of blended in and I was happy to be down there and I made the best of it.
While I was with Manchester in Manitoba, and we had just finished our game, Dean Lombardi was there. He told me, ‘You’re going to go play with the big club’ and I was pretty excited. I actually met the team on the road in Buffalo and it was obviously a dream come true. I loved it.
Before my first game I was really nervous. I got there for the morning skate and I’ve got a bit of a small head and they didn’t have a helmet that was small enough so I went out there with a bigger, goofy helmet on. That took the edge off a little bit but before the game I was pretty nervous. I got my first shift and I got a hit in and I kind of settled down a little bit and started trying to play my game.