From the frozen glass of Outdoor Rink 4 in Regina to the gladiator mayhem that was the Municipal Auditorium, home of the ECHL’s Nashville Knights, Troy Vollhoffer’s hockey career took many twists and turns with more than a few highlights along the way. Like many young Canadian boys, Troy learned to skate on his neighborhood outdoor rink in his hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan. Rink 4, as it was designated, became Troy’s second home during the winter months. He’d strap on the blades at home and then “skate” the three blocks on snow and ice laden sidewalks to the rink. Hours spent skating and shooting in the freezing cold, under the tutelage of Troy’s father Harold, did not diminish Troy’s love for the world’s fastest game. Rather, it helped to fuel his passion. Also inspiring to Troy were the Regina Pats of the mid to late 1970s. Watching players like Dennis Sobchuk, Clark Gillies and Doug Wickenheiser in Regina’s old and grimy but character-laden Stadium furthered Troy’s dream of playing professional hockey. Below are the highlights of his hockey playing days:
Minor Hockey Years
1980-81 season: Troy is named assistant captain on his bantam hockey team, the Juliana Pizza Falcons, a memorable squad not only for its city and provincial championships, but also for its uniforms: orange, white and black replicas of those worn by Troy’s then favorite NHL team, the Philadelphia Flyers, except for a pizza substituting for the orange dot in the centre of the Flyers’ famous logo. As assistant captain, and under the stern but fair hand of head coach Don Smith, Troy began to learn the many lessons of leadership.
1982-83 season: Troy is named captain of the Midget AA Pat Canadiens, the midget affiliate team for the Regina Pats. He leads his team to a provincial championship and then a national championship, the Air Canada Cup. He is also “called up” to play 2 games with his beloved Pats.
Junior Hockey Years
1983-84 season: Troy is traded to the Winnipeg Warriors of the WHL at the beginning of the season. Despite being away from home for the first time in his hockey life, Troy turns in a stellar rookie season, garnering 59 points while amassing 92 minutes in penalties in 66 games with the Warriors.
1985-86 season: Troy has his best hockey season ever. Playing all 72 games that season, Troy scores 55 goals and has 55 assists for 110 points. He also amasses 118 minutes in penalties, proving that he could also mix it up when he had to.
Professional hockey years
1987-88 season: Troy starts the year for the AHL’s New Haven Nighthawks, then moves on to the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the IHL.
1988-89 season: Troy begins the year with Muskegon, then moves on to the IHL’s Flint Spirits, where in 63 games he gets 186 penalty minutes. With the Spirits, Troy gets to play along side his boyhood idol, Doug Wickenheiser. He also plays with superstar Wayne Gretzky’s young brother, Keith Gretzky.
1989-90 season: Troy moves on to the ECHL and the Winston-Salem Thunderbirds, and is reunited with head coach Marcel Comeau from his junior days in Saskatoon. Troy scores 26 goals in 46 games.
1990-91 season: Troy plays for the Thunderbirds once again, scoring 37 goals in 64 games. Troy also picks up 42 assists and 112 minutes in penalties. He is also reunited for one more year with Keith Gretzky.
1991-92 season: Troy moves to Nashville to play for the ECHL’s Knights. But after scoring just 1 goal in 6 games, he decides to retire from professional hockey, to return home to Regina to run his family’s production company, a company that would one day become Premier Global Production. Troy also decides that at some point in his future he will return to Nashville, which he does a few years later, when he opens up the US headquarters for PGP.