It’s a good thing Stingers defenseman Trevor Hawkins has big feet – he’s got some big shoes to fill.
It has been said that there is a hole on the Stingers blueline now that their top two defenders, Andrew Davis and Patrice Theriault, have moved on. This is no hole, it’s a trench. As a third-year vet of the team, gritty Hawkins and the remaining blue-liners have a tough job ahead of them.
The native of Manotick, Ontario said that with the departure of Theriault and his defense partner, Davis, that he has to “step up, on and off the ice.” Head coach, Kevin Figsby, has been pairing Hawkins with sophomore up-and-comer, Ron Smith.
“Ron is great, and I couldn’t be more comfortable. He’s a very smart player. But it’s not just us. It’s the forwards and the goalies too. It’s a challenge to everyone to step up.
“We’re looking good. We have a very veteran team, with a lot of guys in their fourth and fifth year. The core of us have been together for three years. This is our chance to win the conference. We have four consistently good lines, and good goaltending.”
All this from a stereotypically humble Canadian kid who turned down a chance at playing in the Ontario Hockey League to stay at home in Ottawa with his family, while playing Junior A for the Nepean Raiders. Being close to his family is very important to him, which is one of the reasons he came to play for Concordia.
The human relations major realized a long time ago that he didn’t have the skills to make it to the NHL, however, he knew he wanted to play the sport he loved for as long as he could, and playing university hockey was a good route. After taking a year off after high school to play a year more of junior – and winning the league championship – he decided that enough was enough. “It was time to get out of [there],” he said with a laugh. “I knew Davis was [here], so I called him up, and he said he liked it.” Hawkins opted out of staying for his overage season and packed up and moved to Montreal, where he moved in with now-departed forward Matt Armstrong and Fred Faucher.
Although he got minimal playing time when he first started, his second season saw him logging a lot more minutes. He is looking forward to taking on more of a leadership role this season. “I see myself as a leader on the blue-line, but being a leader isn’t just about talking in the room. It’s about your presence on the ice, too.”
Trevor says everyone needs to band together this year as this is the best opportunity to win the conference. “We have consistency with our offence, and our goalies are really good. It’s a huge job, and we all have to step up.” He indicated he was feeling that the atmosphere has changed within the team since he started two years ago, and that it would contribute to the team’s ability to work together. “We’ve become good friends, and we’ve lost that French-English barrier. I learned a lot from guys like Fred Faucher, and the French guys had the chance to learn from us. The new guys coming in have a lot of opportunity to learn, too. We’re not just a good team on the ice; we’re good off the ice too. If you’re not all buddies, you’re not willing to fight for each other.”
According to team-mate and friend, Jonathan Gauthier, Hawks is willing to fight for his team. “He’s a real team-guy. He thinks of the team before himself, and always does the simple things right. When he shoots, it’s on net. When he passes, it gets to where it’s supposed to go.”
Funny enough, Hawks said keeping things simple is important. “I know my job. When I was younger, I was this big kid with bad hands. And I started taking pride in just being able to shut down the other team’s top line.” He sure knows how to work with what he’s given, and he has proven himself as a powerful force, at six feet and almost 200 pounds, taking him on is no small feat. Having been a defenseman since the ripe old age of five, he’s had lots of time to practise.
He counts winning the league his last year in junior as one of his best accomplishments. “We won a big ring, which was cool. Not too many guys can say they’ve won a league championship.”
I glanced down, and noticed that the ever-humble Hawkins wasn’t even wearing the ring.
His philosophies transfer to his school life as well. His major in human relations is paired with a cluster in business and marketing. “I’ll take whatever comes, I’m sure I’ll get into something I enjoy,” he said with his same happy-go-lucky attitude and smile. “I’d like something that challenges me.” He says that currently, hockey is keeping him motivated to stick with his school work. “It helps me to balance everything. It’s the time of day when you can go can hang out with guys that are just like you, and have fun.”
In his spare time, he likes to golf. “I play it a lot. I’m not good at it, not at all, but it’s still a challenge.” He also enjoys cooking, “I like to eat well, and not eat crap. I try to barbecue as much as I can while it’s still nice. We have one on our balcony.” He also likes classic rock music, and going to concerts. He loves Guns and Roses, and this year went to see (among others) Velvet Revolver, Pearl Jam and Def Leppard. He and Gauthier share the same tastes in music, and Hawkins counts him in his inner circle. “We’re like two peas in a pod,” he said with a laugh.
Gauthier said they bonded over a similar sense of humour. “He’s a banana-head, like me,” he joked.
Hawkins also enjoys exploring the city, going to the Old Port, and meeting new people.
“I love meeting new people, it just opens my mind up to so many new things.”
Fresh off a knee injury, Hawkins will be suiting up Wednesday night at 8p.m. against McGill in the Stingers home opener.