Summer 2024

Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz says chapel helps players find strength in their weakness

Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz is preparing to coach in the first Stanley Cup Finals of his 19-year career on Monday. It’s been a long journey for the Winnipeg native, who starting coaching in the NHL in 1999 with the Nashville Predators at 36 years old.

Now 55 with 762 career wins under his belt, Trotz continues to make the rink his home, coaching several stars in his career — ranging from Mike Fisher with the Predators to the Alex Ovechkin with the Capitals.

Standing behind the bench, Trotz is always looking for the right combinations and matchups to help his team succeed on the ice. But a program has helped his players deal with failures off the ice.

Speaking to Stu Grimson with Hockey Ministries International in 2016, Trotz talked about the importance of the hockey ministry’s chapel program.

“Chapel program is essential for a player,” Trotz said. “We’re in a sport that you have to show strength and a lot of times people think if you go to chapel program you’re about failures or weakness. It is actually a strength that you’re able to talk about weakness. That gives you strength. It gives you something to lean on.”

The veteran coach tried to come to one of the chapel services with his players, but he quickly realized that it wasn’t the best decision.

“When we had the chapel program, I wanted to go to chapel program. So I went to chapel and it got really quiet. And I said, ‘I want to be in here but I’m going to step out because I sense that you can’t be the coach and the players are talking about weakness in a sport where it is perceived to be a weakness if you’re talking about your failures or things that you are struggling with,” Trotz said.

This is an avenue for his players and others across the league to give them a safe space to talk about the different pressures they face during the season.

“We need the chapel programs, we need support. The players deal with a lot of different things and they’re just human like everyone else and that gives us strength,” Trotz said.

See below for Trotz’s interview with Hockey Ministries International:

The Washington Capitals take on the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Monday at 8 p.m. ET.

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