Getting to know: Trey Lewis
Having built a reputation as a rugged, hard-nosed, stay-at-home defenceman, Trey Lewis’ primary job is to take care of business in his own end. Therefore, a quick look on Elite Prospects isn’t going to tell you a lot about the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze’s latest recruit.
His value to a team though was well demonstrated in 2012/13 as Co-Captain of the Halifax Mooseheads, where he led a side with future NHL superstars Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon to their first ever Memorial Cup victory.
The road to the cup was a long one for the Mi'kmaq from New Brunswick's Elsipogtog First Nation.
Drafted 4th round (67th overall) of the QJMHL draft in 2009, having missed playoffs the previous two seasons, a re-build had to take place for the Mooseheads with Lewis playing an integral part. Making the quarter-finals in his first full season, the defenceman’s play earned him an Associate Captain role for year two.
With Lewis watching their backs, taking on opponents such as Nottingham Panthers' Mathieu Gagnon, in near 20 regular season and post-season fights over a space of two years (2011-13), the introduction and points production of the aforementioned NHLers saw the Mooseheads resurgence come to full force.
A semi-final appearance was followed by the famous cup win which included an astonishing regular season record of 58 wins from 68 games leading to the QJMHL title. In the playoffs, the Mooseheads were defeated just once from 17 games.
“It was pretty amazing to be a part of that,” said Lewis to Sam Laskaris of Windspeaker.
Despite providing the leadership on which the Championship was built and amassing an impressive +42 plus/minus rating and 26 points over the 2012/13 regular and post season, unlike headline grabbers Drouin and MacKinnon, Lewis was sadly bypassed in the NHL drafts, instead choosing to focus on his education after leaving Halifax ahead of 2014/15.
General Manager, Cam Russell said of the Captain’s departure from the Mooseheads, “As a great competitor and leader, Trey’s passion and enthusiasm will be missed. He has left a mark on this organisation that will last for a long time.”
Mooseheads Head Coach, Dominique Ducharme, now Associate Coach of the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens commented to Willy Palov of The Chronicle Herald, “With Trey, you always know that you’ll get his best effort and he brings that every day… That’s a good example for everyone and guys respect him for who he is and also for the way he works and competes.”
Remembering the Memorial Cup victory in 2016, the Mooseheads official website paid a gushing tribute to the now 25-year-old reporting:
“Off the ice, Trey was a respected leader and Co-Captain of the Championship team. He was one of the most gifted students ever to play for the Halifax Mooseheads.
“He was an excellent player, but he was also tough, he was really tough! He had terrific hockey sense and he could pass and shoot. He’d often be matched against opponents’ top lines. He killed penalties, played the powerplay and played the game with a reckless abandon that made fans realise that this guy was having fun on the ice.”
After a brief stint in the MJAHL where he was named Best Defenceman and a First All-Star, Lewis chose the uSports University route, where many a player has progressed through to become a stand-out in the British Elite League.
Having developed into the "best shape of his life", at 6’0” tall and 200lbs, after registering with St. Francis Xavie to study Economics with a minor in History, Lewis immediately endeared himself to the hockey teams coaching staff with Brad Peddle noting:
“Trey was known for his shot-blocking in the Q and that’s just part of what makes him a good player, in addition to his competitiveness, his grit, his work ethic, he’s really helped our defence.”
Spending two years with the “X-Men”, Lewis would help the team to their first AUS Conference banner in 12 seasons and a silver medal at the National Championship. X lost in that 2016 final to the highly-rated University of New Brunswick, where Lewis would transfer to that summer in order to be closer to home.
“I was raised by my grandparents and they’re not getting any younger,” explained Lewis to Glenn MacDonald for the Chronicle Herald.
“It actually meant a lot to be close to home because my grandmother ended up getting sick. She battled through it, she’s a real champion and she’s good now. But I’m really grateful that I was around home and I got to see them as much as I wanted to.”
The signing was welcomed by UNB Varsity Reds Head Coach Gardiner MacDougall, who told the University’s website, “We’re getting a proven player. He’s a gamer!”
Due to uSports rules, Lewis was ineligible to play varsity hockey that first season, but he became a part of the family, training with the side throughout what was to be a second consecutive Championship season. He also found ice-time playing senior A hockey with Elsipogtog Hawks.
“It was a little bittersweet,” Lewis said to Glenn MacDonald of UNB’s title run in 2017. “It was weird to be a part of the team and to practise every day but I didn’t feel like I earned that Championship.”
Last season however, he was able to hit the ice in New Brunswick colours, due to injuries also spending some time playing as a self-described “crash and bang” forward as UNB picked up a AUS Conference Championship and bronze medal in the post-season University Cup.
Having graduated with a Business Degree, Lewis now turns his attention to pro hockey in Europe and specifically the British Elite League with the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze.
With the likes of player-assistant coach Brett Robinson and associate Captain Ryan Dingle confirmed as departing, Blaze coach Danny Stewart will no doubt be leaning on Lewis to replenish the leadership in the dressing room, whilst bringing that non-compromising style, the like of a Mike Egener.
If the reports are anything to go by, in the words of the coach, “the fans in Coventry are going to love this guy.”