By @MichaelCaples –
DETROIT – Trevor Hamilton accomplished something Wednesday night that 99-percent of his peers will never have a chance to do.
He scored a goal for the Detroit Red Wings.
The Grosse Pointe Farms native, on the Red Wings’ 2018 preseason roster after signing a contract with the Grand Rapids Griffins during the summer, scored Detroit’s first goal in a 3-2 win in front of an estimated 100 family and friends.
He couldn’t start celebrating properly until he confirmed the situation with Luke Witkowski, however.
“I honestly didn’t know it was my goal,” Hamilton told MiHockey after the game. “I looked at Witter and said, ‘did you tip that?’ and he said, ‘No, I wish I did, and I could have told you that I did, but it’s all yours Hammy.’ It was pretty special at that moment. I know all of the guys were cheering for me, and when they announced my name, I could hear all my family there. It was a pretty special moment for me.”
Not a bad moment for a kid who grew up in Hockeytown. Hamilton, who played for HoneyBaked as a youth hockey player before joining USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program in 2011, said that Wednesday night’s Red Wings debut was another hockey fantasy come true; he’s been having a lot of them lately.
“Honestly, I was trying to not get the jitters,” Hamilton said, interrupted at one point by some excited hockey friends in the Little Caesars Arena hallway. “It was awesome. Obviously growing up and watching the Wings, Kronwall being my favorite player and getting dressed next to him in the locker room and playing with him during training camp, it was a special feeling to put that Winged Wheel on your chest. To play for Blash, to have all your family in the crowd, it’s really cool.”
One of the Red Wings certainly shared in Hamilton’s joy from the moment, for more than just being a fellow born-and-bred Red Wing.
“Yeah that was awesome,” Dylan Larkin said post-game. “I’ve known Trevor for a while. He used to pick me up on the way to school in Ann Arbor for the NTDP, our billets lived together when he was an 18 and I was a 17. I grew up a ’96, he was a ’95, he played on that powerhouse HoneyBaked team, I think they won everything. I grew up watching him and following him and know his dad really well. It was awesome to see, he’s such a nice guy and he’s a warrior. You see him blocking shots like I’ve never seen. He’s fearless blocking shots.
“It was great, I wanted him to score more than anyone today.”
Speaking of Hamilton’s dad…Mike Hamilton, the new head coach of the Muskegon Lumberjacks (where Trevor once served as captain), was overjoyed for his son after the game.
“Absolutely special, right?” the elder Hamilton said. “I’m not sure the night could have went any better. He went out there and kept it simple and threw a few pucks to the net and got lucky. It was awesome, really awesome. It was a special moment for all of us, and I’m sure, for him, he’s probably jumping out of his skin.”
Hamilton has had plenty of big hockey moments, of course. He won a national title with HoneyBaked. He served as captain of the Lumberjacks during his USHL career. He played for the Miami RedHawks before transferring to Penn State. He was named the Big Ten’s defensive player of the year last season. He made his professional debut shortly thereafter with the Toledo Walleye.
Still, it’s hard to top suiting up for the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena. So, how did Trevor handle the nerves, according to the proud hockey dad?
“Obviously, we’ve all been huge Red Wings fans, so he’s been on the other side of the glass his whole life, and for him to be able to jump to the inside of it, I wasn’t sure how he was going to respond. We were sure that the first period, he was going to be nervous and grabbing the stick a little bit, but he was poised and I’m sure that having success at camp was really good for him because it helped his confidence to get him going.”
A strong showing at training camp and a goal in his first preseason game is probably more than Hamilton could have asked for heading into his first professional season. From here, everything’s just a bonus.
“Honestly, I’m just taking it day by day,” he said. “If I get another game, I’m obviously grateful, and if not, it was a great one game. Just grateful for the opportunity that everyone’s given me here, and I’m not going to take it for granted.”