Although the season is over for the Vancouver Canucks, it doesn’t mean our coverage ends there. Troy Stecher paid a visit to the Daily Hive Vancouver office this week for a half-hour sit-down interview, where we discussed everything from this past hockey season, to Richmond fact checks, and even the current state of his Lego dream house.
You want to know more about Troy From Richmond?? You got it!
Wyatt Arndt: OK, let’s dive right into this. I know you have one alias Tony Stretcher, but people have also taken to calling you Troy From Richmond. Are you aware of that particular nickname that has made the rounds over the last few seasons?
Troy Stecher: I am. My mom’s told me about it.
That was me who came up with it, I just want to be upfront about this (laughs).
It’s right, though.
Right? It’s a very accurate nickname! OK, let’s test your Richmond street cred then. The Richmond Night market, is that something you’ve done before?
Yeah, me and my girlfriend went this past year and walked around.
Did you try any of the food there?
No, I’m more of a slushy, bubble tea guy, so none of the food, just the drinks.
Next time you’re there, try corn on the cob with lemon pepper, I guarantee you’ll like it.
OK, I’ll hold you to that.
Steveston! Can you confirm that they have the best fish and chips in British Columbia?
Excellent. Now, have you ever gone down to River Rock?
Yeah River Rock Casino! I’ve played cards there. I didn’t have a car until after college, so I took the Canada Line a lot. The River Rock was a prime location to get to in Richmond. My mom lives in Tsawwassen, so that was an easy stop to take the 604 all the way there and hop on the Canada line.
What about Go Karting? Have you raced in Richmond?
Yes. Actually one of my old teammates lived across the street from it, Anthony Ast, he lived on a farm. I’ve been there plenty of times.
Ok let me present a scenario for you. It’s 8:00 pm in Richmond, you need something to eat. Do you have a favourite go to place you hit up for food?
I don’t know, I haven’t lived Richmond in a long time. I’m a big Domino’s guy, and if I’m lazy I’ll just grab pizza.
I’m sure you’ve been asked about this before, but growing up in BC, I assume you were a big Canucks fan?
Big time Canucks fan. My dad’s company had season tickets when I was growing up. My dad would take me to Nick’s Spaghetti house, and then we’d go over to the rink and watch all the games. I was a die hard West Coast Express fan. I still think they are the best jerseys the Canucks had-
Oh my god, you were a fan of the Orca??
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) August 9, 2018
But the Skate jersey!
The Skate was before my era. I think it’s just what I grew up with. When I play video games I do like the black jersey, I think it looks sharp. But big Orca and navy blue fan. Die hard Canucks fan.
Did you see the entire WCE era? You remember Andrew Cassels?
I remember Andrew Cassels, Richard Park, Matt Cooke, we can go through the list I know them all. Felix Potvin. Garth Snow was probably the first goalie who was playing when we went go games-
His huge lacrosse pads!
A lot of great memories, a lot of heartbreak in the playoffs against the Wild…
It still hurts! (laughs). Ok so there is obviously something special about playing for your home team. When you’re signing with a team, was that a small part of it, that should Vancouver win a Cup, you’d be a part of the group of people who finally brought a Cup to Vancouver?
Yeah, of course. Maybe not winning a Cup, but just the aspect of playing at home. I think coming out of college I was just so focused on trying to get my foot in the door and play in the NHL, and then from there I wanted to solidify my role on whatever organization I signed with, and then obviously try win a Stanley Cup.
Vancouver felt like a good opportunity for me to get into the lineup and play. I liked the direction they were heading in, and it’s worked out pretty well for myself.
OK, but there HAS to be some appeal to being someone who could win the first Cup for this market.
Yeah, just knowing that it’s never happened here, and seeing the heartbreak in 2011, and 1994 was the year I was born, and then 1982. I had kind of a familiar taste in college with North Dakota, the last time they’d won was 2000. They’d never won again until 2016 and that was the team I was on. The whole city really rallied behind our team, and they treat us like royalty there now and they still talk about us like that-
So you know you’d get free beer for life in Vancouver if you ever won a Cup here.
Canadian hockey market and a Canadian city I can only imagine how crazy it would be.
There are obviously huge ups and downs in playing in a big market like Vancouver. With all the good there comes a lot of scrutiny.
Like if Brock Boeser gets a hair cut, all of Vancouver will be talking about it.
Well there is a Brock Boeser t-shirt at the Night Market you can buy with his face on it, I have picture of it on my girlfriend’s phone.
Cell phone covers, ninja stars, and Boeser shirts, I love it. OK, let’s get to the hockey questions. You played hockey locally here for the Richmond Blues, and some people on Twitter were curious what influence your minor league coaches might have had on your career?
My dad was the biggest. I started playing organized hockey at four, it was intro hockey back then. He coached me all the way through second year atom.
We’re a hockey crazy family. My brother played before I did. He just taught me to have a passion for the game and to work hard and you can only control what you can control. I feel like I’ve had to prove a lot of people wrong to get to where I am today and a lot of that stems from my dad, who never sugar-coated anything, and treated me with tough love as my coach.
I give a lot of credit to my dad just for helping me get to this point and how he pushed me to chase my dreams. It was always encouraging to push me, it was never forced upon me. It was always something I wanted to do, and he was just the resource to help me become better.
It’s no secret smaller players in the NHL still have to fight that stigma of “not having enough size” but we’ve also seen the NHL kind of realize that size without skill is no longer the viable strategy it might have been in the beat-em-up on the ice days of the 80s. How early on did you realize that “hey, I don’t have the size of others, so I better make sure I can out-think and out skill” other people?”
At a younger age I was always kind of an offensive defenceman. My second year Bantam I put up pretty good numbers. My first year major midget I had almost a point a game. And then I played in Penticton at 16 and that was kind of the first year I found that I couldn’t do what I wanted really… that might be the wrong way to put it, but I just felt like I had to find an aspect to have an effect on the game.
I played with Joey Laleggia at the time, he put up 82 points, so I knew I wasn’t going to be the guy who would be running the power play. I learned at a young age that I had to do something to make myself useful to my team and my coach. I think that’s made me a better hockey player and I’ve taken that with me every step of the way.
Even this season, it feels like every year you have to start at the bottom and work your way up and reprove yourself-
That’s nothing new, every year it’s like that (laughs).
Well look at the end of this year, obviously injuries opened a window for you, but you were in position to get those minutes and you excelled with them. That has to be something you take pride in.
Yeah I think that’s part of it, but at the same time I also… I don’t want to be cocky, but I’m confident in who I am as an individual and deep down I knew I could play those minutes when I was given the opportunity. So I was always working hard in practice or in games when I had lesser minutes, to be prepared for that opportunity came.
That’s why I was so prepared, and that’s why I felt I did a pretty good job. Obviously I don’t want to get complacent, I want to do that on a nightly basis now for years to come, but to show the fan-base and management and my coaching staff that I’m able to do it was a positive step.
Do you feel like you’ve got another level in you? Like armchair QBs are always projecting lineups and people sometimes will be like “Yeah Troy From Richmond, he’s a solid 4 guy but nothing higher than that.” Do you hear that and think to yourself “no no no, I can play on a top pairing”?
I have personal goals within myself that I’m confident that I’m going to achieve at some point in my career. I feel I can still become a way better player than I am right now, and a lot of that is just through hard work.
I know this summer I am going to put in the time that I need to put in to come back a better player, and I’m probably going to surprise a lot of people again next year. It’s no different-
The cycle continues (laughs)
It restarts again next year and I’m going to have to prove to everyone I can do it again, and hopefully I get that opportunity sooner and then I can just keep running with it. I’m definitely not where I want to be and don’t think I’m the player I’m going to finish being.
Do you think there are more levels of Troy Stecher?
I think there are a lot more levels you can find. I think if you’re a hockey team and you set your goals as like ‘we just want to make the playoffs,’ what’s the point then? Your goal should be to win the Stanley Cup every year. So if you’re setting your goals short, you’re just setting yourself up for failure.
I think if you reach for the stars then you might achieve more than you expect. My biggest focus for me obviously is my offensive abilities, and my shot. This summer I really want to improve that. That alone, if I put up 40 [points] then the whole discussion around my name might change, and then people might have a different opinion on who I am and what I can be.
Do you ever text Sami Salo and ask him how to get a clap bomb like his?
No, I probably should though. He could wire the puck for sure. He was good on the power play.
Quinn Hughes was obviously an exciting addition to the team this year. What do you think when you hear people say something like “Oh you can’t have Hughes and Stecher play together, they need some muscle on their pairing!” Almost like it’s like Nintendo hockey and you have to have certain prototypes to have a functional defensive unit.
I think it’s crazy. I feel like I play bigger than 5-foot-10. I play with passion and compete in my game and I play bigger than my stature.
It’s hard to talk about these things on an individual basis because it feels like it comes off in a certain way I don’t want it to come off. I hear it or I see it on social media ‘Oh Stecher will never be good in the playoffs’ and well, it’s like ‘man I won a National Championship in college and I won in Junior so why are you to tell me why I can’t do it at this level.’
That fuels me to help prove people wrong, because I do want to win. I hate losing, and my dream as a kid was to win a Stanley Cup, so I’m not going to let anyone tell me I can’t, and if you do, then you’re just standing in my way.
On the other side of things, is it kind of fun when you do bring a guy with size like Luke Schenn and get to sit back and watch him drop people left and right with huge checks? That game where he had 12 hits-
That’s awesome. I get fired up!
The intangibles of the game are hard to measure, and can be overused at times, but you have to admit having a guy who can impose their will on other people is a good addition to a team.
I thought Schenn was a great addition this year. He came in, played really well, did everything he was asked to. I know as his teammate, and with the rest of the guys, we were fired up every time he threw his body around. How can you not? Hockey is an emotional sport so when you see a big hit you’re going to get jacked up. It was nice to see.
Speaking of guys having your backs, Ryan Miller kind of won the hearts of Vancouver fans everywhere when he had your back when Matt Martin jumped you in 2016. His quote of “I’m not gonna let that kid be baptized in this league by Matt Martin.” Do you still keep in touch with him? Do you just send him some high five emojis every once in a while?
I don’t text him, but every time we play Anaheim I make sure to stop by and say hi. Honestly, it was a really unique situation with how it unfolded. It was my first ever road game, Hockey Night in Canada, two Canadian teams. Had no expectations of fighting, and I get completely jumped and sure enough Millsy is there to save me. It’s a funny story to look back on, I got a five minute fighting major-
Did you really? I didn’t remember that!
I did, I sat in the box for five minutes. And then I fought Strome last year, so I always chirp Virt (Virtanen) about having more fights than he does since I’ve been here.
You’re the muscle! (laughs)
Yeah (laughs). But yeah, whenever I see Millsy I catch up and say hi. Actually my first road trip he was the one who offered up the seat beside him for the first flight, so that meant a lot to me being on my first road trip.
He’s a guy who came in a tough spot, following in the steps of the very popular Eddie Lack, yet by the end of his time in Vancouver, everyone respected the hell out of him.
Yeah getting to know him on a personal level, his true colours really showed. He was such a family guy and he was so personable and he actually cared about my interests and my family and my thoughts. He was a good teammate.
Switching gears, you seem like the kind of guy who knows when they make a mistake on the ice, and it can kind of eat you up inside a bit. Like that game against LA when you swung your stick around and put the puck in your own net by accident, that really seemed to bother you. Are you the kind of guy who hits the video room or runs a play through your head over and over and just kind of make a blood pact to never make that kind of mistake again? How do you use that fire as a positive?
I watch a lot of film. I watch all my shifts after every game at some point before the next game.
But it’s called a mistake for a reason. If you do it twice, then it becomes a habit. If you make a mistake, it’s life, it’s going to happen, you learn from it, just make sure it doesn’t happen again. Obviously there are certain mistakes that you can have a say on, like that LA goal, I don’t think I could have done much more, it was a desperate play and if I was in that situation again I’d probably do the same thing again.
But if I threw a puck up the middle trying to make a stretch pass and it gets picked off for a breakaway then that’s a different story, then that’s a mistake I don’t want to make again. It’s crazy how much I entered the league three years ago to where I am now, and I can only imagine where I’ll be three years from now.
I understand why coaches love veteran players so much because they’re so knowledgeable.
OK, horrifying scenario here, but humour me if you could. How long would it take you to get over, and this is hypothetical, but how long would it take you to get over making a mistake in Game 7 of a Stanley Cup Final that lost your team the game? Knock on wood, it will never happen, but…
Maybe hang up the skates? (laughs) I don’t know. I don’t want to go down that path (laughs).
Ok, what if it’s a post? Like, you hit the post in Game 7, a post that could have tied the game.
I think I could live with that. But in my own net? I don’t even want to go down that road.
Ok, I want you to know I once scored in my own net in beer league hockey in the championship game.
I’ve scored on my own net too, and my dad was there to witness it too. Major Midget. Puck got flipped over my head, and I didn’t want to pivot so I was skating backwards and I picked the puck between my legs so I could see the ice and know my next play. I didn’t see anything I liked so naturally I turned and went to rim it around the net, and literally picked the top corner on my goalie and it went right in. Go ahead goal. I was really upset.
Same thing for me. ‘I’ll put it around the boards!’ and I roofed it.
Painful. You want to hide but there’s nowhere to hide.
That’s what I tell people, at least I put it top corner. OK, let’s have some fun questions here. There is a Canucks equipment sale coming up on April 20. I once bought a Radim Vrbata stick and it didn’t help me win my beer league hockey playoffs. If I buy your stick, will it guarantee me an elusive beer league title this year? The last one I won was in 2010.
100%. I got the best stick on the team for sure.
Will a Virtanen stick help me?
No, the curve flex you’ll want to use is a Stecher. It’s the guy handling that is the issue. Don’t blame the stick on the shooting.
Ok ok (laughs)
I used to go to that all the time as a kid. I got some Alex Edler gloves, Kyle Wellwood stick, Ryan Johnson gloves. My best friend and I went down there every year.
Is it kind of neat to see your stuff on sale now?
Yeah it’s awesome, it’s pretty cool.
Do you ever think of buying your own stuff? Try to get people to buy your stuff?
What kind of curve do you use?
It’s called a P28. It’s a blend of a Erik Karlsson/Drew Doughty curve. My shot is still a work in progress, and this curve helps it. I’m able to flick it with my wrist and get elevation on the puck. Big toe curve, it’s easy to just fire it off your wrist when you’re in trouble in your d-zone.
We saw ‘Shotgun Jake‘ take off last year, so beer is already drunken in his honor. If people were to start chugging something to celebrate your goals, what would you want it to be?
Crown and ginger.
Would you want them to sip it, or just slam it back?
Well let’s just make it a shot of crown.
With the purple bag present for authenticity! OK so you recently had an interview with The Province’s Patrick Johnston, and you talked about your cooking skills. At the time you said your cooking skill was Kraft Dinner and barbecue. Are there any plans to improve upon that this summer?
I can barbecue any meat. I hate using the stove. I haven’t found that passion in my life yet for cooking. I can make a mean steak though.
How do you make your steak?
You play EA Sports FIFA, would you say you’re the best FIFA player on the team?
Probably now. Chaput and Megna were very good but they’re both gone. I actually stopped playing video games for five months, but this is FIFA season for me so I’ll fine tune my game for sure.
Is there anyone on the team who is a big shit talker when guys on the team get competitive playing games? Eddie Lack was famous for chirping everyone.
Nah, but when we played Fortnite and squadded up, I was probably the worst player, so Hutty , Boeser and Virty probably chirped me to be honest.
Who was the best of you four?
I think Hutty is the best of the four but don’t say that out loud. I was definitely the weak link and they’d always be chirping at me to wake up.
Was it your shot in the game that was the issue?
No it was my attention to detail. They’d wander off on the map somewhere and I’d be there chopping wood.
So in hockey you’re one of the most focused guys ever, but in Fortnite you’re just having a good time (laughs)?
I have Phoebe (his dog) in the way and she’s also causing distractions.
Someone wanted me to ask you about your love of Lego. Do you have a current project in the works?
I do. It was on After Hours actually, this big huge white house, probably 3000 pieces in it already. I’m running out of pieces so I’ll have to go on the Lego store and get more pieces.
I have this note on my phone, I’ve have it for a couple of years now, and it’s just ideas of my dream house or things I see at my friends house or at a different cabin or on a TV show, I’ll just put it in this note. I’m not the greatest drawer so visually I’m going to build it with Lego, so that’s what I’m kind of trying to do right now is build this dream house out of my mind so people can see it.
Twitter wanted me to ask how your dog is doing? Is she a good girl?
She’s a great girl. She’s a teenager now so she’s going through her bratty stage, and testing my limits. Yesterday we went down to the water by False Creek taking pictures for this Mark’s campaign, and she just took right off and ran into the ocean.
She’s awesome though, probably the best decision I’ve made in my life, it’s definitely matured me and given me a lot of responsibility and given me a best friend that will always be there for me.
How big is she now?
110 pounds. She’s a unit. She’s a thick girl.
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Hockey is a huge part of my life and I'm so grateful for every opportunity my career has given me, including a voice to raise money and awareness for two causes that hit close to home. With @MarksCanada I created this patch for the Most Well Worn Jacket to help share the story of my next passion project, a charity golf tournamet for MS and Diabetes. Mine is just the second of many stories that will be told through the Most Well Worn Jacket as it makes its way across Canada. #WellWornCollective #Ad
You mentioned the Mark’s campaign, and I see you’re wearing the jacket today. What’s the background on that?
Yeah, Mark’s reached out to me about this campaign about the “Most Well Worn Jacket” and they just wanted to find inspiring Canadian citizens from coast to coast to share their own personal stories.
Last week on Monday it started with Jully Black, a Canadian singer, she told her personal life story and she designed her own patch for this jacket. I was given the opportunity to join this campaign so I made my patch, it’s pretty self explanatory. Hockey jersey with the blue and green for the Canucks and for the city of Vancouver with the ocean and the trees. The ribbon was designed for MS and diabetes.
My step-sister was diagnosed with MS and my dad’s been a diabetic since I was born. My goal is to create a golf tournament to raise awareness for those two causes. So when Mark’s put on this campaign both teams felt like it was a great fit. Even further than that it’s about passion and Canadians and to prove how committed they are to their daily lives and helping those around them, and with me trying to help my family members and me being so passionate and committed to my work, there was no better fit.
Excellent, I look forward to seeing that golf tournament take place one day! Well that’s all the questions I had for you today. Thanks for proving your Richmond cred and taking the time to talk hockey!
No problem at all!