Carter Trevisani – The Unlikely Olympian

Carter Trevisani (Photo: Scott MacLeod)

At age 34, Carter Trevisani still has the appearance of a pro athlete. Physically imposing, once you strike up a conversation with this former Ottawa 67, pro hockey player, Olympian, and passionate golfer, you’ll find he is a gentle giant.

With a humble attitude and a willingness to poke fun at himself, these days the Ottawa resident makes for an affable playing partner on the course.

We sat down with him recently at the Flagstick Open to find out more about something he does not talk about unprovoked – his impressive athletic career, as well as his hopes to keep adding to it, but this time on the fairways instead of the ice.

FGM: So where did you grow up?

CT: Carlisle, Ontario. When my dad came over from Italy my dad lived in Hamilton, so my parents grew up in Hamilton. I went to high school in Hamilton as well.

FGM: Did you play sports very early in your life?

CT: Yeah, my dad was into sports. Even though he came over from Italy he played baseball, he even played hockey. He didn’t really skate very well; it was more like a running stride but they got me into sports right away. I was skating when I was two, playing organized hockey when I was four and he got me on the golf course when I was probably five.

FGM: I heard you may have played a few other sports as well?

CT: I played basketball in high school, I did some track, some baseball too – kind of a little bit of everything. Everything but football. If you play hockey it has the same sort of schedule and I think I just wanted to avoid injuries as well.

FGM: When did hockey really become “the thing” for you?

CT: When I was about 12 or 13 I was getting golf lessons from Shelly Woolner and she basically told me when I was in grade 9 or 10 that if she was going to keep giving me lessons I was going to have to quit hockey. So, I quit golf.

FGM: Any regrets about that?

CT: No. Seeing how hard this game is, seeing how good those guys are on tour. You know what, hockey was hard enough but this sport is even harder, to be honest with you.

FGM: You had some pretty good success early on in hockey, when you begin to think it might be a route for you in life?

CT: I never really knew what the OHL was until I hit like 14 or 15 and then scouts and agents start coming to you. Bobby Orr came to my house when I was fifteen and my parents were like “holy moly”. I was rated top two or three picks for the OHL draft and that’s when you start to figure it out.

Trevisani would be recruited by several NCAA schools for hockey, choosing to head to Ohio State in 2000 for a year.

FGM: The Ottawa 67’s then brought you to Ottawa. How was your time with them?

CT: My first year we won the OHL Championship and then we went to the Memorial Cup in Regina and then I played another two seasons after that. Killer (legendary coach Brian Kilrea) was great. I learned a lot. More the mental side of the game, which prepares you for the next level if that is what you plan on doing. And then I met my girlfriend, now my wife, and that’s how I ended up in Ottawa.

Carter and Gabrielle now have two children, Eva (3 ½) and Leo (1/12).

FGM: After junior, you chose to head into the pro ranks. How did that play out for you?

CT: I was drafted by Carolina and I went to two final camps. I got to play an exhibition game my first year and my second year I got hurt at camp. I don’t think I was quite ready to make the jump at that point. At that 19,20 age that’s the time you need to be ready if you are going to jump into the American league.

FGM: And then things took a different turn?

CT: I had some Italian scouts asking if I could get my Italian passport. Basically, I said I had no idea, I hadn’t even though about it. They told me that the Olympics were coming up (2006 Turin) and that if I came to Italy them I might be able to play in the Olympics. So that’s what I did. I went down and got my passport and then played two full seasons in Italy (for Varese) in the Italian first league and then the year after was the tryout and I ended up making the team.

FGM: What was that like for you?

CT: It was a little different feeling as a Canadian, especially as a Canadian hockey player. It’s what you wear on your sleeve, on your heart but the opportunity at that time to play in the Olympics, obviously at that time I was not going to be playing for Team Canada because I would have been in the NHL, but it was a great honour. My father was born there so it was special and it gave me an opportunity to play at a high level. We played Team Canada that year in the first game and I scored a goal against Switzerland in the last game. I also got to play in three World Championships after that.

FGM: What did it mean to your parents to have you playing on that team?

CT: My mom and dad were there and Gabrielle as well. The three most important people in my life to that date were there and enjoyed it. It meant a lot to me. It probably meant more to me to have them there then even for me to play in it.

Carter would wrap up his pro career in 2012/2013.

FGM: When did golf creep back into your life?

CT: I played 10, maybe 15 rounds of year as I was playing (hockey). I think as my career started to be near the end I started playing more. I was playing at Outaouais (now Rockland GC) because my father-in-law had a bunch of buddies playing there. I started to play with them once or twice a week. Probably the first tournament I played in, in a long while, was the Flagstick event six or seven years ago at Smuggler’s Glen.

Carter shares that the return to tournaments gave him the feeling of being back on the Hamilton-area Wilson Junior Tour as a young teen where he had some success.

CT: Then you start meeting local players, guys that were encouraging me to come out to tournaments. It was through a bunch of them that I ended up as a member at Greyhawk. You play with good players and you get a lot better. There are a lot of them there.

FGM: So where does golf fit for you now with a busy career at IBM, a wife and two young children?

CT: It’s kind of went the other way now. I’m playing a little less, especially once the second kid came along, but I’m sure in time I’ll get back to playing and competing more.

FGM: What have been your golf highlights, so far?

CT: I think my early ones were in the Flagstick events. I was in the heat there two or three times and had some good finishes. I shot 66 here (eQuinelle) so that was a big one in competition but probably the biggest was when I won a club championship at Greyhawk two years ago.

FGM: Where do you see you taking your golf from here?

GT: I’d like to one day, if I got my game really good, to get in some events like the Tunis. The only thing about those events is get the college kids coming back and just light it up. It’s just not realistic to compete with those kids that are going to be pros but besides that, hopefully just win a bunch of club championships and really just have a lot of fun with the guys at the course.