Skip to main content

Travis Roche


Travis Roche was an excellent student and an outstanding philanthropist off the ice, and every bit as intellectual on the ice. he was poised and silky puckmover with superb instincts. The right handed rearguard was known for his hard shot and silky stride.

Yet Roche was over-looked by NHL scouts as he was never drafted. The Grand Cache, Alberta native moved to Inuvik, Northwest Territories, about an hour away from the Arctic Ocean, as a youth, but spent most of his hockey development years near Edmonton. He had played with the Trail Smoke Eaters in the British Columbia Junior League, forgoing the WHL to keep his college eligibility open. In the BCHL he was named rookie of the year and playoff MVP for his fantastic play, though scouts shied away from his then-wiry size and adventurous defensive game.

Undeterred, Roche committed to the University of North Dakota for 1999. As a freshman he was redshirted in his rookie college season, not allowed to play but only practice. His credits did not properly transfer to UND, which disqualified him from his scholarship that season.

The year of development was challenging for Roche, as he turned it into a huge success in the 2000-01, being named as a NCAA All Star while leading UND to the Frozen Four championship. He impressed everyone with his filled-out size and his improved defensive game, tempo and physical play.

With several offers coming from the National Hockey League Roche opted to leave school after his third year. He signed with the Minnesota Wild and played in the final game of the regular season with the team.  He then reported to the farm team in Houston where he immediately impressed with a strong and quick chemistry with Nick Schultz.

Despite some strong play in the AHL over the next few years, Roche never found a home with the Wild. He only played nine more games though 2004.

In the summer of 2004 Roche signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Thrashers but never played for the NHL club. 

Roche's only real NHL season was in 2006-07 when he spent 50 games with Wayne Gretzky's Phoenix Coyotes. But he was back down in the AHL in 2007-08.

Ultimately Roche was a finesse blue-liner blessed with excellent mobility. But at the NHL level he was too polite and needed to assert himself more physically. 

Roche moved over to Europe after that, playing many seasons in Switzerland and Sweden. He would spend his off-seasons in Minnesota where he established a commercial and residential property investment firm.

Through it all Roche has always kept children's charities close to his heart, no matter where's gone.


“There are a million reasons to be involved. I don’t think hockey is a big thing for most of these kids. I think it means something just to be someone who is willing to spend the time with them, when you don’t have to be there. Seeing the children’s faces light up, it’s such a gratifying feeling.”

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M