After a week away from the team following the death of his mother, Barry Trotz returned to Islanders practice on Saturday.
Iris Trotz passed away at the age of 78 on Jan. 1, which led to Barry taking a leave of absence that included a late scratch just moments before the Islanders’ New Year’s Day victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
“The way the organization reacted, allowing me to go home and take the necessary time, the players reaching out and then just watching them today, the effort and the work ethic that they’ve each put in,” Trotz said. “It’s not easy, obviously, with the 10-day sort-of break. They’ve done a really good job.”
The Islanders are currently in the middle of another lengthy break due to COVID-related postponements that wiped out a west-coast road trip that would have seen them travel to Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Seattle. While the Islanders practiced throughout the last week, associate head coach Lane Lambert — as he did against the Oilers on Jan. 1 — led the team.
Their next scheduled game is on Jan. 13 at UBS Arena against the New Jersey Devils, meaning the Islanders would have played just two games in a 24-day span.
Hockey, however, is secondary in the grand scheme of things. And the break allowed Trotz the necessary time to head home and be with his family.
“I loved my mom, and some of the things that I looked back on that she did over the years molded me and my sister, just as my dad did,” Trotz said. “So any success that we’ve had as a family, I’ve had personally or my sister has, it’s from our parents.
“This is the first time I’ve lost a parent, so it’s very difficult. I have a better understanding of when it happens to someone else. I just want to thank everybody who has reached out, not only with the Islander organization. The fans and what have you reached out. It’s very heartwarming to me and comforting that we’re one big family.”