As much as we all love this beautiful game, half of the sport is often forgot about - the business side. We've all been through seeing our favourite players get traded, but very few hockey fans may experience it on a personal level. Many fans, players or even family members may not know what to expect when the idea of a trade comes about. Earlier this season I was unfortunate enough to experience the business side of hockey, when my boyfriend was traded with only two games remaining in his final season of juniors. It was hard for me, it was hard for him, and it was hard for his teammates. This experience allowed me to present to you three different perspectives of going through a junior trade and a little bit of advice to help you get through it.
What was going through this trade like? Either losing a close friend, getting traded or being the girlfriend?
Teammate: Yeah losing a close friend and teammate sucked. But it reminds you that there is a business side of hockey which you kind of forget about when you become so close to your teammates. When you first hear about it you try not to believe it, but there's nothing you can do so you just hope he ends up somewhere he wants to go and he gets treated good.
Player: For me it was disappointing and upsetting. We all knew it was coming but still finally hearing it and realizing it was actually happening it definitely sucked. Once I got settled in with my new team and billets it wasn't bad but off the start it was upsetting.
Girlfriend: To be honest I think I took it harder than my boyfriend did, I was so bummed out when he told me the news and I remember it ruining the rest of my day. I didn't want him to have to leave the team he had so much success with for two years. It took me awhile to accept his new team, I felt like they were the enemy and weren't the guys he was suppose to be playing with. It was definitely hard seeing him in new colours and sporting a new number.
What was the hardest part of the trade?
Teammate: The hardest part wasn't no longer being able to play hockey with him but no longer being able to do stuff together as friends outside of hockey. We would game together, or go ice fishing, snowmobiling, or just hang out. It was hard to lose a close friend for sure.
Player: Hardest part for me was having to leave my billet family. I was close to them and they were my second family. Leaving my teammates and the guys I had become close friends with was also hard.
Girlfriend: I think the hardest part for me was having to see him leave the team that he won two championships with and the billets that supported him through it all. I had gone to visit him last season and got to see his home rink, and meet his billets along with some of his teammates. I had been cheering these boys on for two seasons, I knew how they played and felt like I really knew them. I wasn't ready to meet and try to figure out 26 new players all over again.
What was the hardest part on ice part of the trade?
Teammate: He was a veteran player so he was definitely missed. He just had the experience and knew what it takes to be successful. He was someone that younger guys need to hear from to know what needs to happen. It was hard losing him but you just kinda move on and continue to play.
Player: It was probably getting to know my teammates and finding chemistry with them. I had only practiced with them twice before my first game so it was hard to try and learn the set plays within that short of time frame. I felt like the new kid up until my first game, once you get on the ice hockey is still hockey and I fit right in.
Girlfriend: I said this before but seeing him playing with a new team, wearing a new jersey and a new number it was definitely hard. It took some getting use to for sure. I knew no matter where he played he would be the same player and work just as hard but it definitely took me a little while to get use to the number change.
What's it like playing against your old team or teammate?
Teammate: Playing against old teammates is weird but it is no different than playing anyone else. You can go hard and compete with them but still be able to be friends and talk with them at the end of the game.
Player: It's like playing any other team. You may have friends on the team so you don't want to play dirty against them or hurt them or anything but you still wanna play hard. What happens on the ice stays on the ice you can be friends afterwards.
Girlfriend: I guess I don't really apply in this situation but his first game back in his old rink was the first game I got to watch him in his new uniform and it was hard. I would search for him on the wrong team and I knew more guys on his old team then I did on his new one. There was definitely times where I was probably cheering for the wrong team. It's fun to see him battle in the corner with the guys he use to celebrate with. You can just tell that both guys have a huge smile and get a kick out of competing against each other.
If your stuck or hung up on the trade, how do you move on from it?
Teammate: Just stay focused on your own team and your own game.
Player: You just go to your new team and make new friends. Just play hockey that's what you're here for.
Girlfriend: Moving on from the trade and finally accepting that he no longer played for that team was hard for me. After I watched a few games and actually took the effort to learn his new teammates, and I knew their nicknames, it did feel like it was his team. I am still yet to get some gear to support his new team, as his old jersey is still hanging in my room.. oops.
What advice would you give to another player/girlfriend in your position?
Teammate: You have to stay focused on your game but also stay in touch with your friend like talking and texting. Everyone is different, that's a hard question to answer though.
Player: Don't be upset about it. You get to play in a new town with a new team and make a bunch of new friends. If you don't like where you end up you're not stuck somewhere and can always talk to a coach about moving somewhere else. Just make the best out of it.
Girlfriend: Just support your boy. Don't get caught up in which team you wanted him to play for. Just support him and cheer him on. The two of you will hold the memories he's had with his old team forever so you just got to cherish those and make new memories with his new team. No matter what team he plays for he's still your hockey player, so continue to be his biggest fan.
So there you have it, as great as hockey is there can be so ups and downs and a trade is definitely not easy to go through. Just got to make the best of it cause it's all part of the junior lifestyle. A big thank you to my wonderful boyfriend and his great (ex) teammate for their insights into what it's like to go through a trade. Couldn't have wrote this one without you boys.