WHITE ROCK – Hockey is in Trevor Cox’s blood.
The 19-year-old Medicine Hat Tigers left winger (by way of White Rock) is the great-grandson of Fred "Cyclone" Taylor – one of hockey’s earliest pioneers – and the nephew of ’80s NHL centre Mark Taylor. His uncle played seven seasons between the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals while his greatgrandfather helped the 1915 Vancouver Millionaires to the team’s only Stanley Cup.
Now, a century later, the Western Hockey League star is vying for a spot in the NHL.
Cox, who spent the first 10 years of his life in Tsawwassen, had a prototypical introduction to hockey, apart from coming from hockey royalty.
"My parents, I guess, just took me skating when I was a little kid, and I just fell in love with the game," he told the Now. "I had a pretty good hockey family, a pretty historic hockey family, and I’m just honoured to be a part of it."
Upon moving to White Rock, Cox joined the Semiahmoo Minor Hockey Association, where he played five seasons on the South Surrey ice that only increased his passion for the sport.
"It was a great organization to play for," he said. "I developed lots of great friendships throughout my time there. We weren’t always the best team, but we were a really close group of guys. I’m still really good friends with them and I’ll cherish those memories forever."
After being overlooked in the 2010 bantam draft, Cox left the Home of the Ravens for the Valley West Hawks, playing one year on their midget team. He excelled as the team’s top scorer and was soon listed by the Medicine Hat Tigers.
"They listed me, which is just putting you on their protected list, and then I came to camp as a 16-year-old," he said. "I guess I impressed them and was able to stick around for my 16-year-old year."
Cox is in his fourth season with the WHL team, but segueing from midget hockey to the league was a challenge, given that he stands only 5-8 and weighs 164 pounds.
"The transition wasn’t easy, especially
with myself being a smaller guy," he said. "You’re playing with older guys, you’re playing with much bigger and stronger, faster guys."
No matter his size, he lets his stats do the talking: He led the league with 80
assists in the regular season and scored 29 goals, second only to Portland Winterhawks right wing Oliver Bjorkstrand. He’s carried that momentum into the WHL’s Eastern Conference, where the Tigers just knocked out the Red Deer Rebels in five games, yet he’s remained humble in his four years on WHL ice.
"I don’t like to get too high about it," he said. "You’ve just got to stay on an even keel. If something happens, that’s great, but if not, I know that I did my best and that’s all I can really ask of myself."
Last year, the Tigers came in second in Eastern Conference, falling short to the Edmonton Oil Kings in the final. That loss has lit a fire under the team as they return to
this year’s playoffs, said Cox, recently voted Best Playmaker in the conference.
"We have lots of guys returning from the team last year, lots of experience, and we’ve realized how close we were to going to the league finals last year and how fun of a journey that was. We’re definitely looking for a longer playoff run this year, and hopefully we can make that happen."
Cox scored three goals and four assists in the Tigers’ opening playoff series, and this week the team continues its quest for a Memorial Cup in a series against the Calgary Hitmen.
This June represents Cox’s last chance to be drafted by an NHL team, after not being selected last year due to his size.
"That’s always kind of been a knock," he said. "That was one of the main reasons why I didn’t get drafted into the WHL, and obviously, it’s one of the main reasons why I didn’t get drafted into the NHL.
"It’s something I’ve just got to live with and I’ve got to keep proving people wrong. Hopefully, if I keep playing well, people will start to notice and something will happen within the pro ranks."