For as long as Vincent Trocheck can remember, Sunday night has been designated for family dinner, hosted by his grandmother.

The weekly gathering, which took place back in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Penn., always featured a fresh home-cooked meal with an assortment of dishes to feed the entirety of those in attendance. After all, it wasn’t just Trocheck and his immediate family who showed up; it was a weekly reunion that included his vast extended family.

“I grew up in a really big Italian family,” Trocheck explained. “My mom has two brothers and a sister, and they all had at least three kids. My grandmother has eight brothers and sisters, and then they all had a bunch of kids, too. My grandma and her sisters are all really close, so we’d have these huge dinners with the whole family. Everybody would come. That was how I grew up. It was just normal for me to have everybody around all of the time.”

Trocheck’s grandmother is from Calabria, a region located in southwest Italy, positioned on the "toe" of the country’s famous boot-shaped peninsula. Since moving to the States, she’s passed on the family-centric values that are so prevalent in Italian culture from generation to generation.

“I thought from a young age that family was always the most important thing in life,” Trocheck said. “I just look at it that way in all aspects of life, including hockey -- when you have a close family or close team, it makes everything else a little easier."


Despite being in his second season with the Rangers, the 30-year-old forward has not only seamlessly fit in, but he’s also helped bolster the team’s tight-knit bond.

For two-straight years, when the team has visited his hometown to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins, Trocheck has given his teammates a taste of his childhood. The night before the games, he invited the entire team to his grandmother’s house for one of her revered meals.

This year, one of the Rangers’ trips to the Steel City just happened to fall two days before Thanksgiving. The Rangers all attended the dinner and enjoyed some of Trocheck’s grandmother’s specialties, including chicken parm, rigatoni, arancini, meatballs, linguine with shrimp and scallops, chicken cutlets and braciole.

The outing seemed to bode well for the Rangers: The next night, they won 1-0 against the Penguins.

“It starts with Troch’s grandma, who cooked a big meal for the team,” said Nick Bonino with a smile after the win on Nov. 22. “It was nice just to unwind. We had a lot of guys over there.”

Trocheck’s children, Leo and Lennon, often accompany him to Rangers’ events and attend every home game. During warmups, Trocheck routinely skates over and meets them on the glass for fist bumps and smiles.

This year at a preseason marketing shoot, Leo posed as a team reporter and asked his dad’s teammates questions for a video series. In early December, the five-year-old also accompanied his dad to a Junior Rangers clinic at the training center. He sported a No. 16 jersey and cruised across the ice participating in the various drills, just like his dad.

“It means a little bit extra whenever you're gone as much as we are,” Trocheck said of spending time with his family. “When you're at home, you do your best to spend as much time as you can with them. You don’t want them to wonder or worry about why you’re gone all the time, so just spending time with them when I am in town is really important. You want to make the most of it, too; they grow up so fast.”

True to Trocheck’s Italian heritage, family values are essential. Whether that’s back in Pittsburgh enjoying his grandmother’s rich traditions, in his day-to-day life as a father of two, or on the ice with his fellow Rangers teammates, family is everything for Trocheck.

“I try to implement that,” Trocheck said. “I don’t try and force it or anything. It just comes natural for me. I’m a big family guy. It’s what I know.”