Trevor Wong: Motivated More Than Ever
When the news came that there was going to be a 2020-21 season, there probably wasn’t a player more excited than Kelowna Rockets centre Trevor Wong.
The season was set to be the Vancouver, BC products draft year, in early rankings from the NHL’s Central Scouting Wong didn’t make the list. He knew that getting the chance to play would help change those scouts minds.
“I was just excited that we were going to get to play a season,” said Wong. “I was super grateful that we were going to get some games in and some exposure. I wanted to go into the season, put my best foot forward and showcase what I can do.”
Wong was held pointless in the first couple of Rockets games before positive cases on the team forced the Rockets into a two-week quarantine. In their first game back from the break, Wong exploded off the charts racking up four goals and an assist against the Prince George Cougars on March 28, 2021.
“I think I was excited to be back playing, being back on the ice and playing with the guys was huge. It was my first game moving back to centre and I felt a little bit more comfortable there. I don’t really know what happened, it was just a little luck and a little skill. Overall it was a fun night.”
He had previously played centre before joining the Rockets as a 16-year-old last season. Wong says that he’s happy to be back at his natural position, but that there was a bit of an adjustment to playing it at the major junior level.
“I played wing my first year in Kelowna and the change was a little hard because I had played centre my whole life, but when you move up into the different levels of hockey you need to play whatever position.
“At first it was a little difficult playing centre at the WHL level, guys are bigger and stronger on draws and down low you can’t be lazy. It was a little bit of a change at first, but positionally I felt comfortable switching back.”
He said that the Rockets hub team is one of the closest teams he has been a part of.
“With the troubles, we had to go through and the adversity we faced, we had to stay tight-knit throughout the season. Even playing in a Covid-19 hub season is tough in itself, but then we had the cases on our team just two games into it and it was almost like a dagger to the heart. We knew that we had to stay tight-knit and stay positive as a team, I think for sure that was one of the closest teams I’ve ever played on. With all the adversity we had to go through I think that really showed our true character as a team.”
The 5’9″, 155-pound forward led the Rockets in scoring during the hub season with 16 points (6G, 10A) in 16 games. He credits his jump from 14 points in 58 games as a 16-year-old rookie to growth.
“The guys from my first year really helped show me what I needed to do. This year I had to step up and be a bigger contributor to the team, and that’s what I did. Confidence is one thing, but I think naturally being older and more comfortable playing in the league were the biggest things for me this season.
“I think to reflect on this past season, overall I’m pretty happy with it. I thought I was a big contributor for the team, the only thing I’d like to be better at is to be a little more consistent—not just every game, but every shift.”
Trevor Wong, have yourself a night! pic.twitter.com/o9cHb6kA5X
— Kelowna Rockets (@Kelowna_Rockets) April 18, 2021
When it was all said and done, he cracked Central Scouting’s final rankings at 90 among North American skaters heading into the 2021 NHL draft.
When the draft did roll around in late July, Wong said that he didn’t watch the second day like a hawk.
“I kinda just woke up, it was a pretty normal day. I had breakfast with my family and hung out with them, I had the draft on in the background, but I wasn’t fully dialled into it.”
The second day went by without Wong’s name being called by a team, but in the days after he received an exciting invitation.
“When my name didn’t get called I won’t lie, I was a little bit upset and a little bit disappointed. But I didn’t dwell on it for long, I can’t control the stuff out of my control. It was a little bit of a setback, but now it’s motivation for me.
“A few days after the draft, I was working out when my agent called and told me that the Florida Panthers invited me to attend their camp. It’s pretty exciting and honestly, I’m grateful that they noticed me. I’m thankful that they’re giving me the chance to go to a camp and see what it’s all about to be a pro.”
In addition to his offseason training, Wong has been busy hitting the links. He started playing golf last summer and has since fallen in love with the game.
“I’m a member here at a club in Vancouver along with my dad and brother. The tee sheets are usually pretty open in the afternoon, I love to get out there and play. I love going to the range, it almost opens a new section in your brain, getting away from hockey and the world to just focus on golf and little things about it.”
While as much as he enjoys the game of golf, he can’t wait to get back on the ice in front of the fans at Prospera Place.
“My expectations for next season are kind of the same as what they were last year, have fun with it but play hard every shift. I want to try and be an impact player every shift and a leader on this team. I’m going into my third season and I know a little bit about the team now, we have a younger roster this year and I definitely want to help show them the way.
“I’m really excited for this year, I can’t wait to get back. I love the city, the fans and the organization.”