Thursday, March 16, 2006


The Cost of Trading Places

It's cliche to say, but the 'human' element never really gets discussed often around deadline day. As fans, we love the rumours and gossip and eventual deals.

As someone who appreciates stability in my life, I can empathise with players who really dread Deadline Day. You have to hear about yourself being traded to numerous other cities and not have the comfort of knowing where you'll be sleeping in a week's time.

As I've grown older and more mature, I no longer get upset when a player uses their "No-Trade" Clause. They negotiated it into the contract, and the team knew what they were getting into when they signed the deal.

Why should we get made or angry at a player who actually choose to use this clause? It's amazing to me how many people get personally upset and label a player 'selfish' for using a contract clause they had included for a reason.

So, Keith Tkachuk doesn't want to be 2,000 miles from his family to play on a 'contender'? More power to him! If you had a wife, mistress, and kids, would you wan't to be 'dealt' to a different city and have to spent days and weeks without them? Hockey players already spend a lot of time on the road, so you'd think they would understand and cherish the time they do have to spend with their familias.

Back to Vansterdam, there was a bit of gushing over the fact that Eric Weinrich and Keith Carney were once roommates and linemates back in Chicago.

That's all well and good, but that was back in 1998. 1998!! A LOT can change in over 7 years. People grow apart and people change. Were Weinrich and Carney even good pals? From one interview I heard, Weinrich made it sound like he and Keith really didn't keep close contact with each other.

Anyway, the local Georgia Straight ran one of those Human Interest stories about Carney and Weinrich and how they deal with the toll of being traded way out here to Vancouver. (Article Linkage)

For Weinrich, a 39-year-old Yarmouth, Maine, native acquired from St. Louis for a prospect and a draft pick, this was the sixth time he’s been dealt and the fifth time it has happened during the season. But this is the first year in his 16-season NHL career that he’s lived apart from his family, and after the trade to the Canucks, his loved ones are now that much further away.

Weinrich and his wife, Tracy, made the decision at the start of the season that she and their kids—Emily (11) and Ben (nine)—would stay in Philadelphia while he lived and played in St. Louis. Although rumours had been swirling for weeks that Weinrich would be coming this way, there was a part of him hoping that if he was going to be on the move, it would be to a team closer to home.

“It’s really tough. This has been the hardest year of any pro year I’ve had. I’m across country now, where before I was a two-hour flight away in St. Louis. I got to see my family a couple of times a month and when I could, I’d go home,” he told the Straight the day after being acquired by the Canucks. “I’m sure now they’re going to make just one trip out—and make it a long one, hopefully—but that will be it for me seeing them this year until we’re done. It’s never easy getting traded, but on the good side of things, they’re not moving and they’re in a familiar place, so that was basically what we had in the back of our minds in case anything did happen this year: they’d be in a familiar area and they’d be close to friends.”
The school factor must loom large for hockey families. If you are a player like Weinrich who gets traded a lot (hmm...), you don't necessarily want to rip your kids away from the friendships they have established. It's easy enough for a player to move away, at least temporarly, but it can extremely hard for the children. I can remember my own anxiety of moving to Vancouver (from dinky little Cranbook) when I was a kid and having to 'start over'.

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