Ken Trentowski had a lucrative job in New York City working at a law firm in the Empire State Building.
Then, a few weeks ago, he received a phone message from Steelheads coach Brad Ralph.
Ralph was offering Trentowski a new opportunity. The job would include lower pay (almost half as much) and the possibility of multiple bruises and lost teeth.
Trentowski, a Yale graduate, was thrilled to take Ralph up on his offer.
He played his fourth game with Idaho on Wednesday night as the Steelheads beat the Utah Grizzlies 7-3 at CenturyLink Arena.
I got a call from Ralphie while I was at work and listened to the voicemail. At first I was kind of shocked, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Trentowski said. It took me the hour-and-a-half commute home for it to really settle in my head. But by the time I got home I was like, This is a great opportunity. Im almost a fool to not do this.
Turns out the timing of Ralphs call was perfect.
One of my buddies plays for the Sound Tigers in the AHL, and they had a scrimmage against the Islanders, Trentowski said. Im sitting with my parents and my mom asked me, Do you think you could do this? And I said, I really think I could. You miss it and you dont realize what you would do to get back into it.
Literally, two days later I got the phone call, and thats why it was an easy decision for me.
Ralph was glad to hear that decision. His team has been through drastic roster changes in the wake of the NHL lockout, and he has been doing what he can to plug the holes.
But his options have been limited.
The pool of players, well, there is no pool of players, Ralph said. Every league has been ravaged.
Thats why Ralph has kept a number of his former players in the back of his mind. One of those was Trentowski, who played for Ralph while he was coaching Augusta of the Southern Professional Hockey League.
I guess as a coach youre more prone to lean on the players you know, Ralph said. Kens always had a great attitude, so I knew what I was going to get. He still has the drive to make it in the game, and what we needed was a smart, steady defenseman. Thats what I knew Id get from him.
While Ralph had confidence in Trentowski, bringing him in to play at the ECHL level could be seen as a bit of a gamble. Yes, the defenseman had played four years at Yale, and yes, he was named to the Federal Hockey Leagues 2012 all-rookie team. But the FHL is considered a couple of levels below the ECHL, and Trentowski hadnt played in a pro game since April.
Absolutely, he can play in this league, Ralph said. I wouldnt have brought him in if I didnt think so.
Trentowskis parents supported his decision to pursue hockey again. The law firm he was working for was a little bit less supportive, if still understanding.
The ties shouldnt be cut completely, he said. There should be a couple strings attached there. Ill have a job at some point further down the road. You can only play hockey for so many years.
But while hes got his chance, hes going to make the most of it.
Im really happy to be here, he said. I couldnt have scripted it any better.
NEWS AND NOTES: David de Kastrozza (two goals, two assists) and Sam Carrick (two goals, one assist) led Idahos offensive onslaught in Wednesdays win. Goalie Tyler Beskorowany (14-7-4), who just rejoined Idaho after another stint with the Texas Stars, earned the win after stopping 25-of-28 shots. Defenseman Kory Scoran, who has played more than 250 games with Idaho over the course of five seasons, has been skating with the Steelheads during team practices. At this point were just getting him on the ice and getting him conditioned, and well take it from there, Ralph said. Scoran, a native of Canada who lives and works in the Treasure Valley, had applied for his green card but was ineligible to play until last week. Well just take it day by day with him, Ralph said. I dont know if hell be taking road trips with us or how thats all going to play out.
Chris Langrill: 377-6424