Trevor Hendrikx is making good on his second chance. After being unable to come to terms for a contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets when they drafted him in the ninth round in 2003, he re-entered the draft and was selected again by the organization in the seventh round. This season as an over-ager with the Peterborough Petes, Hendrikx’s 56 regular season points placed him seventh in the Ontario Hockey League in defensive scoring. In the OHL playoffs, he tallied five goals and 15 points in 19 games, to place him in a tie for second in the league for blue line scoring. Not bad for a player who was originally thought to be a pugilist and nothing more. Hendrikx credits the return of legendary OHL coach Dick Todd to the Peterborough bench as reason for his success. It’s no surprise that the rearguard’s emergence as a solid prospect coincided with the end of Todd’s 11-year absence from junior hockey.
Hockey’s Future caught up with Hendrikx after he helped the Petes win their CHL record 20th Memorial Cup game to open the tournament against the Quebec Remparts.
HF: Just to start, can you describe what you bring to the Peterborough Petes?
TH: I like to bring a solid defensive game in my own zone and chip in offensively on the power play and stuff and dish out the odd hit here and there. Just kind of a calming, leadership presence back there.
HF: Who’s your regular partner out on the ice?
TH: Usually Bryan Young (EDM). He’s a good steady d-man to play with and I like playing with him. So we complement each other pretty well.
HF: You were drafted by Columbus. Do they keep in touch with you throughout the season?
TH: Yeah, we talk on a pretty regular basis. You know, they’re always talking to me, trying to give me tips and pointers and stuff to help me out. They’ve been very helpful and I’m excited to get down there and start a season.
HF: Do you have any specific tips that they brought up?
TH: They’ve always told me to work on my foot speed, because speed is everything now with the new NHL and stuff like that. So I know I have to work on that and I’ll work really hard this summer and get as fast as I possibly can so I can play at the next level.
HF: You were drafted twice. Can you tell me how that all came to pass?
TH: Well, they drafted me in the ninth round the first time and it was an awesome feeling. I never thought I’d get drafted and I went there and had a good camp. We just couldn’t come to terms the first time and I was lucky enough that they picked me again. So they told me they still liked me. I got a second chance and hopefully it works out for me.
HF: It’s been noted that you changed the way you play at bit. Before you were known as a bit of a bruiser on the ice and you’ve calmed down a bit from that and are now more of a solid overall player. Can you discuss that a bit?
TH: I just figured I needed to contribute to the team somehow and fighting was my way to do it the first couple years. Because I didn’t play much and I figured that was my thing to do. As time went on, Dick (Todd) came in and sat me down and told me he wanted me to play a little more and play with a little more skill. So I just played and worked hard and developed into a pretty decent player. Now, it’s pretty rare that I fight, but when I do it means it’s pretty good stuff.
HF: Can you just talk a bit about the effect that Dick Todd (head coach of the Petes) has had on your hockey career?
TH: He’s been great. He pretty much gave me the complete 180 when he came in. He took me from a fighter and turned me into a great player and so I credit him a lot for giving me the confidence to play like I can. He’s a great coach and his record speaks for itself.
HF: Last night, you guys came out with the win. Is there anything you feel the team still needs to improve or yourself, personally?
TH: Well, I think last night, everybody was a bit nervous and I think it kind of showed in our play in the first half there. We didn’t have our best game but we still came out on top so it’s nice to get the win in our first game and now we’re settling in a bit. So hopefully we’ll be that much better for the next game.
Trevor Hendrikx and the Peterborough Petes face off tonight against the host team, the Moncton Wildcats as the 2006 MasterCard Memorial Cup.