The Trail Smoke Eaters welcomed new acquisition Trevor Peca to the fold on Wednesday night, just in time for their weekend set against the Cowichan Valley Capitals and Powell River Kings.
The 18-year-old Clarence, N.Y. native took a long and winding road to the Silver City. After a tryout with the USHL’s Omaha Lancers, Peca played four games with the RBC champion Chilliwack Chiefs, before being acquired by Trail on Wednesday.
“After I was moved to the affiliate list in Omaha, I knew the next thing to do was go to the BCHL,” said Peca. “I ended up in Chilliwack, and I really wasn’t familiar with the league or the team, and a week-and-a-half later I’m here in Trail, so it’s been a whirl-wind couple weeks for sure.”
Peca is a strong-skater and talented playmaker with a high hockey IQ, which he displayed when he averaged a point a game (12-36-48) playing with the Buffalo Jr. Sabres of the Ontario Junior Hockey League.
“Something I pride myself on is being a 200-foot player, good on both sides of the puck and also try to be the hardest working player every time I’m on the ice,” said Peca.
Trevor’s work ethic reflects that of his father and hockey advisor, NHL legend Michael Peca, who, during his 13-year career, played for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks.
Carrying the ‘Peca’ name on his shoulders brings the inevitable comparisons, added pressure, and inflated expectations, but it’s something that the six-foot-one forward has grown to embrace.
“He just tells me, ‘Be yourself, be the best version of yourself.’ And that’s what I try to do every time I step on the ice.”
Having Jeff Tambellini as his head coach also doesn’t hurt. The Smoke Eaters GM and head coach was in a similar situation when he played for the Chilliwack Chiefs from 2000-02 in the shadow of his NHL father Steve Tambellini.
“Jeff has an amazing resume, he’s been everywhere I want to be and he’s going to be a great help for me this year,” added Peca, in anticipation of getting into the line up this weekend. “I’m super excited to play in front of the fans here.”
Look for Peca to be in the line up tonight when the Smokies host the Cowichan Valley Capitals at 7 p.m. at the Cominco Arena.