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Saskatoon Blades' Wong makes players around him better: coach

"[Trevor Wong is] a leader and he’s a really good centreman. Guys like that make players around him better," said Saskatoon Blades assistant coach Wacey Rabbit.
Trevor Wong is counted on by the Saskatoon Blades not only for his offensive power, but his leadership.

SASKATOON — While Trevor Wong is enjoying a career year offensively, the Saskatoon Blades centreman is also focused on helping others succeed.

As of Feb. 8, Wong led the Western Hockey League club with 60 points in 49 games. His strong two-way play has helped the Blades post a 33-12-3-1 record, which sat them third in the WHL’s Eastern Conference. Wong has regularly centered Brandon Lisowsky, who is averaging a career-high 1.39 points per game, and Egor Sidorov, who has already recorded a personal-best 53 points this season.

“He’s probably one of my favourite players ever that I have played with or been able to coach because he is a 200-foot player,” said assistant coach Wacey Rabbit, a former Blades standout who had a long pro career. “He’s a leader and he’s a really good centreman. Guys like that make players around him better. You look at Liso, Sido – they’re all having career years. They’re all doing it together. …

“Trevor just works. He sees the ice so well. He’s such a good teammate. On the ice, he’s not the biggest guy but his determination makes him 6-foot-2.”

The 5-foot-9, 155-pound Wong has already surpassed the 42 points he posted in 50 games in 2021-2022. He has equaled the 17 goals he scored during that campaign. What has allowed the 2003-born player to increase his points production this season?

“It probably starts off with my linemates and my teammates helping me and supporting me,” Wong said. “My linemates on the ice just making it easier for me to put the puck in the net with them. When you’re 19 years old, you’re a bit older. You have some experience. Some of that comes into play too.”

Confidence is important in sports. Wong said his confidence has come from the experience he has gained.

“Being my fourth year in the league now, you just kind of learn about the league every year,” he said. “You grow an extra year older and experience more. It comes from that and also producing for the team early just kind of helps you out later on in the year.”

Wong leads the Blades and is ninth in the WHL with 43 assists. Lisowsky and Sidorov have often been the recipients of his playmaking. What makes that line combination formidable?

“A lot of skill and both of them are pretty elite shooters so I like to pass the puck usually. If I give them the puck, there’s a high percentage chance it’s going in the net. It’s pretty easy to play with them and great guys off the ice too,” said Wong, who has also skated with Jake Chiasson, who has 12 points in 14 games since joining the squad from the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Offence is only part of what Wong brings to the Blades. An alternate captain, he is counted on for leadership. As well, he kills penalties and takes important faceoffs for the team. What lets him succeed in these facets of the game?

“His anticipation. He’s very tenacious,” Rabbit said. “The smaller guys got to bring that tenacity. He’s a guy who does that in spades. He’s an older guy in the league. He works. He knows what it takes to win. He understands that taking care of the puck, taking care of your end is a big part of that. So, that’s why he’s a leader on our team.”

A North Vancouver product, Wong got his feet wet in the WHL in 2018-2019 with four games as an affiliated player with the Kelowna Rockets. Wong played the next two seasons for Kelowna before being swapped to Saskatoon. He has enjoyed his time with the Blades.

“It’s obviously a first-class organization,” Wong said. “I enjoy everyone from CP (president and general manager Colin Priestner) to all the way to our coaches and obviously players. We have a great group of guys this year … I just like the camaraderie of the room and the tightness of the group is pretty special.”