Story by Robert LaPlante
St. Cloud, MN – Trevor Zins is one of 10 freshmen that made their college hockey debut for St. Cloud State in a 4-2 home win Oct. 6 over the University of Alberta. Among this year’s rookies, Zins is one of only four that played high school hockey in Minnesota. A 2016 graduate of St. Michael-Albertville High School, he played two varsity seasons with the Knights, where he accumulated 10 goals and 29 assists in 52 games between his sophomore and junior seasons.
Zins was named the Mississippi 8 Defenseman of the Year his junior season. He registered seven goals and 20 assists, as the Knights went a perfect 11-0 in the Mississippi 8, clinching their first-ever conference title. It was the first of four-straight conference championships for STMA. “We were pretty good my junior year, winning conference for the first time,” Zins said. “We kind of got the ball rolling there, so that was pretty fun.”
Ironically, the Mississippi 8 isn’t considered a hockey hotbed when it comes to college hockey talent. However, in recent seasons SCSU has landed two other players from the same conference. Nick Jensen graduated from Rogers in 2009. Blake Lizotte graduated from Chisago Lakes in 2016. Both are currently playing in the National Hockey League. Zins hopes to someday follow in their same footsteps. “It’s great to see Blake Lizotte get where he is from our conference. It goes to show hard work can get you anywhere,” Zins said. “My goal this year is to learn as much as I can. I want to get better every game, and get in as many games I can. No matter what happens, I want to improve each and every year so I can make it to the next level after my fourth year.”
Zins originally wasn’t a Husky commit out of high school. His junior year he made a verbal commitment to play for the University of Massachusetts-Lowell of Hockey East. Like most heralded prospects, he opted for junior hockey his senior year of high school, and spent two seasons playing for the Cedar Rapids Roughriders of the United States Hockey League. Zins spent the past two seasons with the Trail Smoke Eaters of the British Columbia Hockey League, where he was named the team’s best defenseman in 2018, after putting up 12 goals, 34 assists in 58 regular-season games.
It wasn’t until this past February that Zins announced on Twitter that he was joining the Husky program. “Just knowing the style of play that St. Cloud plays, and how they follow their defensemen, offensively, which is how I play, drew me here,” Zins said. “I like to join in and create chances in the offensive zone. They also play an all-around game, which is good to learn from coaches like Gibby (Mike Gibbons) and (Brett) Larson, teaching every aspect of the game.”
Zins played a few shifts early on in Sunday’s game with Alberta. He nearly scored his first-career goal early in period one on a shot from the point. “I was hoping that would go in,” Zins said. “It was a pretty good chance. I was a little nervous, but hopefully I get one again.” Zins, who wears the jersey No. 11, has been made aware from a few people that the last couple players to wear that number – Ryan Poehling and Kalle Kossila. “I’ve been told that a few times,” he said with a grin. “Yeah, there’s a little pressure, but you have to fill those shoes sometimes.”
Story by CenterIceView/Huskies Illustrated contributing writer Robert LaPlante. He can be followed on Twitter at @laplante71