Kaicee Trott’s social media handles—AVBulldogsFan—show where her allegiance lies when it comes to junior hockey. What they don’t show is the dedication the Port Alberni woman has made to the city’s B.C. Hockey League team over the past decade, as well as her burgeoning photography career.
Trott first began taking photos at the Bulldogs’ games in 2008-09 after meeting defenceman Adam Hout in a media studies class at Alberni District Secondary School the previous year.
“Having someone I knew playing for the team really got me invested,” Trott wrote in an essay titled “The Powerful Friendships That Changed My Life.”
“My love for the game moved forward from investment to commitment.”
She still keeps in touch with Hout and has made several other friends through the Bulldogs. She met Chris Schutz in early January 2015 at a Pathways’ Bulldogs party. “He and I still talk every couple of months,” she said.
She met Brandon Halls in 2011, and he now works for the Vancouver Canucks as their corporate partnerships and community development coordinator as well as for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.
Former assistant coach Adam Hayduk urged Trott to do more with her hockey photography after meeting with her in 2010. “He saw my passion for the team and my photography,” said Trott, adding that one of her greatest accomplishments was when Hayduk submitted one of her photos of Kurt Gosselin to the BCHL’s Smart Hockey magazine.
Former head coach Matt Hughes connected with Trott in 2017-18, creating 30 episodes of coach’s updates for Trott’s YouTube channel. He and his Okanagan Hockey Academy female prep team have now welcomed Trott into their fold. She met them when they came to Vancouver Island to play a team from Shawnigan Lake.
“I enjoy taking pictures of the players,” says Trott, who is itching to get back to the rink as much as any of the players are. “I am a memory keepsaker, as I photograph them on game day and in the community. I have a huge archive (of photos). I keep hard copies of everything because you never know which players will come back later on in their lives and want pictures.”
The respect goes both ways.
Bulldogs’ alumnus Grayson Valente said Trott’s engagement with the team “has created a bond between the community, players, and the players’ families. Kaicee’s updates through photos and social media allow the families to follow the team’s developments from wherever they are.”
Trott said she often receives messages from players’ family members who appreciate the connection. “My No. 1 supporters have been the families and billets,” Trott wrote. “They purchase my photos from year to year, thank me for my hard work and dedication to the team, and for bridging the connection to their sons.”
Valente was with the Bulldogs for three seasons, from 2017-18 until he graduated to the Austin Bruins of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) in 2020-21. Valente still keeps in touch with Trott even though he is playing hockey in Austin, Minnesota now.
— Kaicee (@AVBulldogsFan) January 23, 2021
“Kaicee…was a huge part of my experience in Port Alberni,” Valente said. “She was very involved with the team through the videos and photos she’d produce.
“The photos I have now encapsulate so many of the great memories from my time in the community and I am now always able to look back on those thanks to the dedication she showed the team,” he said.
“As well, she was always behind us, no matter how well we were doing, always sending us encouraging messages.”