Nothing has come easy for Peter Trainor during his young hockey career, but he has certainly let everyone know that he will take every opportunity presented to him, grab it by the throat and make people take notice.
The Fredericton, NB native was passed over in the 2010 QMJHL Draft, then went on to lead the NB-PEI Major Midget League in scoring with 31 goals and 58 points in only 34 games with the Fredericton Midget AAA Canadiens.
He was invited to the Saint John Sea Dogs camp prior to the season, but was left unprotected by the team, allowing the Rimouski Oceanic to scoop him up.
And are they ever glad they did.
As a walk on rookie, Trainor started out with limited playing time, but it wasn’t long before his strong play and offensive prowess could not be ignored, and he was soon skating on the team’s top line.
He would finish a respectable 7th in rookie scoring for the league, racking up 29 goals and 27 assists for 56 points.
There would be no downslide during the playoffs as Trainor totaled 18 points in 21 games during the Oceanic’s run to the QMJHL finals. What is even more impressive was that his 12 playoff goals put him on a pretty prestigious list in Rimouski’s playoff history- a list that puts him amidst the likes of Sidney Crosby, Vincent Lecavalier and Brad Richards.
Always looking to improve, Trainor worked hard in the off season with agent Doug Sheppard, improving his skating and strength and came into Rimouski’s camp in top physical condition to prove that his rookie season was no fluke.
He would not disappoint.
He flirted with the league scoring lead all season, holding the title for a few games down the stretch but would end up finishing 4th , firing 46 goals and 54 points for exactly 100 points.
An improvement in his defensive awareness was also reflected by his solid +30 rating, putting him among the league leaders in that category as well.
It was enough to earn him the Molson Cup as the Oceanic’s Player of the Year, as well as being honored with an MVP award that was voted on by the team’s season ticket holders.
His 100 points as a walk on player is also a very rare feat that is not accomplished by many. The last to do it was Gatineau’s Claude Giroux, twice passed over in the OHL draft, before getting a tryout in Quebec with the Olympiques in 2007.
Again Peter Trainor finds himself in pretty good company, ask the Philadelphia Flyers if they’re happy Gatineau gave Giroux a chance.
His play has not gone unnoticed amongst the experts either. Trainor has been as high as 4th on TSN’s Scott Cullen’s QMJHL Player Power Rankings in which he uses a formula using a players statistics and impact on his teams game to devise a score. Cullen says Trainor has had a great year that could be reflected when the NHL releases its final Central Scouting list.
It is a sentiment that is echoed by former Calgary Flames GM and current TSN Scout Craig Button. He says that second year eligible players stocks have risen over the past couple years, evident by the picks of 19 year olds Tanner Pearson (1st Rd) and Trainor’s former linemate in Rimouski, Alexandre Mallet (2nd Rd) in last season’s draft. When I asked if Trainor could follow in these players footsteps, Button said “it wouldn’t surprise me to see him go in the 2nd.”
The War Room rankings posted by thehockeywriters.com have him going early in the 3rd round, but also list him amongst a couple of players as the most likely to creep into the 2nd round.
This is all pretty high praise from a host of respectable sources, but all of which is undeniably deserved by the young winger. His dedication and desire to play hockey at a high level is evident by the results he has achieved.
He does not shy away from getting his nose dirty either, shown by his strong work in the corners and on the boards. He is always willing to stick up for a teammate and drop the gloves if need be as well, a trait that you don’t always find among the league’s top scorers.
Despite getting more attention this year from the opposing club’s checking lines, Trainor has battled through and persevered on the scoresheet.
Equally impressive is the fact that if he returns to the club for his final year of junior hockey, he will find himself as the Oceanic’s all time “Ironman” about a third of the way through the season, having never missed a game to illness or injury .
It is these intangible personal attributes that have had scouts watching closely all season long and had agent Sheppard’s phone ringing most of the year. Several NHL clubs have conducted in person interviews with Trainor, and there will likely be several more as the road to the Memorial Cup has begun and we inch closer to the NHL draft this summer.
Peter Trainor has been making people who have given him a chance look like geniuses so far in his hockey career.
Now the question is- who will be the lucky one to give him his break to go pro?
I have a feeling they won’t be sorry.
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* Peter Trainor’s Rimouski Oceanic find themselves tied at a game apiece in the first round against Gatineau so far, and he has figured in 50% of his team’s offense with 3 assists in the two games.