New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz was in his third year as an NHL coach when the events of September 11, 2001 took place.
Trotz was head coach of the Nashville Predators at the time when the attacks on New York City and Washington D.C. took place. The moment that United Airlines Flight 175 struck the south tower of the World Trade Center has stuck with Trotz to this day.
“I know exactly where I was that moment the second plane hit and that was training camp,” Trotz said on Friday ahead of Game 3 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. “We were doing medicals. I was with Mitch Korn our goalie coach at the time in Nashville and we watched that. It was sobering.”
Friday marked the somber 19th anniversary of the attacks that took place in New York, Washington D.C. and Shanksville, Pennslyvania. Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives that morning and American history was forever changed that day.
For Trotz, the day has a more impactful meaning having coached in two of the cities directly impacted by the events of that day.
New York Islanders defenseman Andy Greene wasn’t in the area at the time of the attack, but the American born player recalled the unity the country had following the attacks. Greene spent 14 years with the New Jersey Devils before being acquired by the Islanders earlier this year, so he’s found a greater appreciation of what the day means for the area.
“I’ve got to meet a lot of people who were in the area. Were near and that unfortunately lost people on this day,” Greene said. “For me, September 12th the way this country came together. The way we just came together and I think that’s something we could use right now with everything going on in the world. I just remember that day it didn’t matter what race, nationality it didn’t matter what you were.
“We were all Americans, we all came together and we all pulled for each other.”
Greene and Trotz aren’t the only New York Islanders with connections to the area from that day. Matt Martin’s wife Sydney grew up on Long Island and lost close friends on September 11th, Martin told SNY.tv several years ago.
And Lightning head coach Jon Cooper famously went to college just outside of Manhattan at Hofstra University on Long Island. Cooper called the events of that day life-altering.
“It was tragic and I think it was an awakening for us,” Cooper said. “It was amazing how the country and the world for that matter were brought together after that day. It seems weird to say 19 years ago because it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago. Nobody has ever forgotten that and especially the people that lost their lives and gave their lives when that happened.”
New York and Tampa Bay will play a hockey game, while back in lower Manhattan two beams of light will shine into the sky to commemorate the tragic events of September 11th. The memory of that day still fresh in the mind of Trotz as well.
“It’s still very vivid to anybody who remembers that day,” Trotz said. “Anybody who has come in contact with people who have been involved. Today is a day of remembering and a day of understanding that our country had to stand strong and it did. And it will again.”
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