Trevor Gillies is a thirty-two year old forward for the New York Islanders. His position is listed as a left wing, but he is definitely much more well known for his brawling than his scoring. His professional career began in 1996 with the OHL’s North Bay Centinnials. After that, he bounced around between the ECHL, AHL and NHL before landing with the New York Islanders for good in 2009. In his AHL and NHL career he has compiled only 24 points, but has piled up 1,999 penalty minutes.
Gillies isn’t a one dimensional man, though. His old timey mustache might be decieving, but on top of his fighting prowess, he’s also a proud father and stepfather. He answered a handful of questions for TFL about his family, traveling and the best part about being an NHL father.
Wife – Danielle
On his family
I have a stepson; his name is Phoenix Jenkins. I came around in his life when he was 14 months old. Me and his dad are tight. He’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me, made me grow up and a just a great son. I treat him exactly like he’s my own. I have a daughter – Danni Ryan Gillies. She just turned 4 years old. The day she was born was the best day of my life. Period. I just love being a dad. It’s an absolute great time. It’s my greatest accomplishment in life.
On the perks of being a father and a professional athlete
To be honest, to be a dad in the hockey world, we kind of have it made. We come to the rink early, and you know, unless it’s a game day – game days you’ll don’t really get to see them, but on practice days you get to spend a lot of time of with your family. Where, with most families, parents are working 8-5 or 8-6, then they have to drive home, eat dinner and they’re dead tired from working all day. They don’t get a lot time with their kids growing up, where us as athletes, we get to spend a whole lot of time with them. Yes, we’re gone sometimes, but it’s definitely an amazing job for that. You get to see your family quite a bit.
On how he sees his family more during the season and less in the summer
To be honest, I might see them less in the summer. We do spend a lot of time, but you’re so busy training and doing different workouts with this coach, a fight coach, skating or whatever you’re doing. My day is pretty filled up, but we definitely try to get away on weekends in the summer. We go to Hilton Head a lot, which is about two and a half hours from Augusta and we enjoy some good, quality family beach time. We go to friends’ pools, have cookouts, just the usual stuff. We’re very normal. It’s definitely a great gig for that. I do get to see them all the time.
On not moving his family
That’s why they’re not here right now. He’s a football player. He’s pretty talented. He plays in Georgia, so I think it’s only fair for him to pursue his passion and his dreams, so it wouldn’t be fair of me to take him out and have to come up to school here and not play. We let him finish his season and then my wife and the kids join me after that.
What his daughter thinks about his career
She loves it. She’s my biggest fan. She’s up there in the wives lounge with all of the other girls, a great group of girls on this team – whether they are a wife or girlfriend and they all get along and watch the games together. The kids are playing in the closet half the time and not watching the game. My daughter, when I do happen to have a fight or when I’m playing, she’ll always give me the ‘go daddy, go’. It’s awesome. I’m just very thankful that they do get to watch me play.
On the best part of being a father
I love everything about it. You know, I told you, it’s my biggest accomplishment. I think you judge a man on how good of a dad he is, so I like to think I’m a pretty good man because I try to be the best dad I can. I had a great dad and a lot of guys in here have great dads. We have the dad’s trip and there’s nothing better in life than being a good one, and not being a deadbeat one.
30 year old freelance writer and The Father Life‘s resident beer columnist and sports editor. He also writes about fine beverages for drinkingmadeeasy.com and Chilled Magazine. On top of that, he writes about college and professional lacrosse for insidelacrosse.com. He’s also written for Genesee Valley Parenting Magazine, the Democrat and Chronicle Newspaper and ESPN.com. “Osburn on Tap” appears monthly in THE FATHER LIFE. For questions, comments, or if you have a story idea for Chris, throw him an email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on twitter http://www.twitter.com/chrisosburn