Nearly seven years ago, on opening night of the OHL season, two teenagers crossed paths for the first time. They couldn’t have been more different. One was an outgoing, brash defenseman. The other, a quiet and extremely shy forward.
Trevor Lewis scored a goal in Owen Sound’s 4-3 loss that night. Meanwhile, Drew Doughty had a goal of his own for the hometown Guelph Storm and was named the game’s first star. In some ways, Lewis has been playing catch-up ever since.
“That was the first time I ever met him,” Doughty told MayorsManor. ”He was coming in from the USHL and he was one of the big guys. He was supposed to be one of the best players on their team that year. He came to the net one time early in the game and I gave him a slash or a cross check or something and he was like, ‘Do you know who I am?’ So, every time we bring up the old days, I always chirp him about it and tease him pretty good.”
In the re-match a month later, Lewis scored two goals against Guelph and earned his own first star. While it may have been a touch of revenge, the score was hardly even.
Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Lewis had the deck stacked against him when it came to professional hockey aspirations. Steve Konowalchuk is the only other Utah-born forward to ever play in the NHL. Still, the determination and dedication Lewis showed growing up is channeled into everything he does on the ice, as he’s now become a solid third-line player for the Kings.
After leaving home at a young age to play in Colorado, he eventually landed in Des Moines, Iowa and went undrafted in 2005 as an 18-year-old. However, the following year was a breakout season in which Lewis earned the USHL’s Player of the Year, Forward of the Year, and Most Gentlemanly Player of the Year awards. A few months later, Los Angeles selected him in the first round of the NHL Draft, but the journey was just beginning.
He only spent one season in Owen Sound before turning pro and playing for the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL. A pair of short call-ups to the Kings over the next two seasons weren’t enough, though, to convince management he was ready to make the jump.
By contrast, things have always seemed to come a little easier for Doughty. After playing junior hockey about 90 minutes away from home, he was taken with the second overall pick at the 2008 NHL Draft and found himself in the Kings staring line-up that October. The 6-foot-1 defenseman went on to win a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics and earned a Norris Trophy nomination in just his second season as a pro.
But where the script turned from occasionally crossing paths and into something more like an odd-couple buddy movie was in the summer of 2011.
In separate moves that shook Philadelphia like a California earthquake, the Flyers traded away their top two forwards within a matter of hours. Over the ensuing days, numerous articles were written about the break-up of two best friends, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.
Somewhat lost in the story was the separation of two other close buddies, Doughty and Wayne Simmonds.
“When anyone thought of Dewey, they thought of Simmer because they lived together and that sort of thing. It was always Simmer and Dewey,” said Kings captain Dustin Brown while reflecting back.
It was also during the 2010-11 season, when Lewis played his first full year in Los Angeles, that a Doughty-Lewis friendship was slowly starting to take shape.
“Lewie was like the third wheel,” Brown quipped. “I always called him that until Simmer left. Then he became Dewey’s new boyfriend.”
Lewis describes things a little more organically, ”With Simmer gone, Dewey didn’t have anybody living at his house and I lived close by. We’re both single and we don’t have much going on. So, we just ended up hanging out a lot.”
Meanwhile, Doughty says the friendship with Lewis came pretty easily - “He doesn’t act like an American, I’d say he’s more Canadian. I have a good time with him and we have a lot of fun together.”
Even so, when Doughty hosted a softball tournament last summer, Lewis declined an invitation to play.
“I wasn’t too sure about how great London, Ontario is – where Dewey’s from. He makes it sound like it’s New York City. Maybe I’ll have to go check it out someday,” said the 26-year-old right wing.
Truth be told, Lewis played there several times while in the OHL. So it was nothing personal, their schedules just didn’t line up properly. Still, Doughty was quick to retort – blurting out, “London? It’s the best city ever!” – when he heard of Lewis’ comments.
“He likes to give me a lot of crap and make fun of me. But, he’s pretty sensitive when you give it back to him,” said Lewis.
Even Brown has played a role in the banter and their friendship. He was Doughty’s roommate on the road the past few seasons and went so far as to say he was probably doing Lewis a favor at times, “It was my job (to look after him) on the road and I think Lewie’s had to take care of him at home.”
Of course, Doughty disputes any such notion.
“Brownie didn’t do anything to take care of me. If I (was) talking too much, he might have told me to shut up. But, that’s about it. And I think I take care of Lewie more at home. He’s a little out of control at times. I have to calm him down and tell him to relax a little bit.”
The wit and cleverness had clearly turned to heavy sarcasm at that point. Lewis being ‘out of control’ is probably as likely as him winning the Rocket Richard Trophy next season.
However, Doughty and Lewis will forever be bonded as hockey players by their Stanley Cup winning experience last spring. All the while, their unlikely friendship continues to blossom and strengthen. As odd of a pairing as they may seem on the surface, perhaps it’s yin and yang coming together.
“They’re both young and that obviously lends a hand to their friendship,” says Brown. “From the standpoint of lifestyles, they’re very similar.”
Wanting to get in as many jabs at Doughty as possible, with the thickest of smirks you can imagine, Lewis joked – “He’s kind of a screwed up kid and I like to help him.”
At the very least, maybe he can just help reel Doughty in a little. After all, several of his teammates laugh at what they describe as Doughty’s ‘unintentionally funny’ stories – including the many iPhone apps he talks about inventing.
“He thinks he has good ideas. But…” Lewis never finished the thought. He looked at Brown and they just rolled their eyes and chuckled.
Like any good buddy movie, they’re currently ‘working’ on a sequel.
“With Simmer gone, I lived on my own last season. But I didn’t like it too much,” said Doughty. “So, Lewie moved in with me this year.”
The timing of their new adventures together had to be delayed a bit though due to the lockout last fall. Doughty stayed back in London, while Lewis moved into his place and kept an eye on things.
“The first thing he said when he came back in January was ‘Why is the house so messy?’ I thought you were going to keep it clean.” Lewis revealed. “But, if you look at it now, it’s disgusting because he’s a pig.”
“He would say that because he’s a liar,” retorted Doughty. The two can go back and forth all day long.
“I’m definitely doing a good job cleaning up after him,” Doughty continued. “I’ve had to teach him a few things now that he’s living with me. But, besides that, he’s a pretty good roommate.”
Clearly they missed each other during the lockout though, right?
Well, Carter told MayorsManor they were always in contact with each other, but Doughty tells a different story – of course.
“To be honest, we didn’t talk very much. I text him every once and a while to make sure he was starting my car for me and stuff like that,” recalled Doughty.
Lewis was perhaps a bit more honest.
“Yeah, I missed his comments during the day, just what pops in his head and what comes out of his mouth. It’s pure entertainment,” he admitted. “But, I feel like I’m his dad. So, it’s kinda weird that I have to pay him rent. I feel like he’s my little kid and I have to take care of him.”
With the new CBA though, Doughty has one less caretaker, if you will, because players no longer have roommates on the road. Thus, the Kings’ captain isn’t watching over his star defenseman – nor is he there for companionship either.
“It’s good and bad for some things,” Doughty explained, while talking about having his own room now. “You can sleep when you want to sleep or watch TV when you want to. But, besides that, I miss rooming with him. Like, if we have a late game, and I can’t sleep, it’s always nice to have somebody to talk to or watch a movie with. So, I miss that.”
Why not just call Lewis up?
“Sometimes I do that. But, we don’t usually hang out in the rooms together. That would be a little weird I think.”
Finally something they agree on – sort of.
“Yeah it would be a little strange,” said Lewis. “But he still texts me because he gets bored and lonely, and I have to look after him a lot. So, I check up on him every now and again.”
What’s easier, taking care of Doughty at home or on the road?
“It’s easier at home because I always have my eye on him, you know? When he has his own room, I don’t know what he’s doing or if he’s sleeping in or what.”
Then there’s the matter of the dog, Reggie. Doughty brought him down from Canada, but Lewis doesn’t pick up after him.
Chalk it up to disagreement #613 between the roommates.
“Overall, he’s respectful enough of my property,” said the 23-year old defenseman. “I probably just should have had him put down a deposit though, in case he ruins something.”
Now maybe there’s an app worth creating.
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