Connect with us

Colorado Avalanche

‘I Helped Them And They Helped Me’: How Yakov Trenin Embraced The Role Of Mentor



Avalanche Trenin blue jackets

It was an interesting path to the NHL for one of the newest forwards on the Colorado Avalanche, Yakov Trenin.

While there are always Russian players that come over to play Major Junior in North America, most of them stay home in Russia, near family where they’re more comfortable.

Trenin was not one of those guys. He was focused on his future, even if it meant being uncomfortable for a little while.

“I thought it was going to be better to be in front of scouts,” Trenin told me after practice on Saturday. “Better chance to be drafted.”

It worked. After a year of playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Trenin was selected in the second round of the 2015 NHL Draft by the Nashville Predators. He spent two more years in the QMJHL before turning pro and heading to the AHL.

Coming to North America and leaving his family wasn’t an easy decision for him. When he arrived, he didn’t speak English, and was in a class where his teacher only spoke English. He was taking lessons, but was caught off guard by another wrinkle after arriving in Canada.

“I was taking English courses, and then when I went there, I didn’t even know they speak French in Quebec,” he told me.

Maybe that’s why, having come to North America at such a young age and being forced to adjust on his own, he had no issue taking a lot of young Russian players under his wing in Nashville.

“Russian guys stayed in my house for almost full summer, so it was nice,” he said.

The setup was mutually beneficial, though.

“It was good for both of us,” Trenin told Colorado Hockey Now. “I helped them and they almost helped me not be boring. Spend time together, hang out, play some golf.”

This could be good news for Colorado.

The Avalanche have a young Russian that just arrived in North America last week. Nikolai Kovalenko, currently rehabbing his injury up in Loveland, has never played in this country, and while he was born in North Carolina, has spent most of his life in Russia. He’ll likely join the Avalanche soon, but isn’t there quite yet. That doesn’t mean he’s all alone, though.

Trenin said he’s going to Ivan Prosvetov’s house for dinner on Saturday night, and will meet Kovalenko for the first time. Maybe there’s another mentorship on the way for the 27 year old, who said things have finally calmed down after the chaos of the trade deadline. Trenin has been a fantastic addition on the ice, but having someone who could help another young Russian adjust to North America as quickly as possible could be another unexpected benefit of the acquisition.

Other News And Notes

  • I did ask Trenin if he’s caught off guard by how well Nashville is playing right now.
    • “Actually, no. Before I left, we already been on like an 8-0-1 streak or something. The way they work hard, it’s pretty obvious. Hope we’re going to stop them,” he joked.
  • I always ask the new guys what it’s like to have to play against Nathan MacKinnon, so I asked Sean Walker what it’s like to have to defend him.
    • “I think everybody would say the same thing – it’s zero fun trying to defend him. It’s more of just trying to do what you can, and limit as much as possible, but some nights you just can’t even do that.”

Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Evan Rawal, Editor-in-Chief. Part of the National Hockey Now family.

This site is in no way associated with the Colorado Avalanche or the NHL. Copyright © 2023 National Hockey Now.