Recently Chris Pronger has been very active on Social media about the life of a hockey player and giving all us fans a deep insider view of what it's like to be a National Hockey League player. Here is his story on what it's like to be traded in the league:
In 1993 I was drafted 2nd overall to the Hartford Whalers.
I thought I was in a pretty good position. Little did i know what was a head of me!
After 2 years in Hartford and having just gone through my first NHL Lockout in 1994 (my 2nd season in the NHL). I talked w/ then GM Jim Rutherford in Hartford during our post-season interview.
We discussed summer plans and what I/we needed to do to improve our team next season.
He told me I was the franchise player and someone the team is going to build around.
How many times have you heard that in the media? It is a kiss of death of sorts for many athletes.
As we went through my season and what I needed to do to improve on and off the ice, I began to get excited about the next season.
But, I was becoming disillusioned with the prospect of spending my whole summer in Hartford.
I had a clause in my contract that I was supposed to train in Hartford for the bulk of the summer.
I had zero plans to do so. We discussed this and I was given the green light to go home for the summer.
Why not? They were going to build around me right! Better to be up front.
Having missed the playoffs, I had been home for a couple months when our head coach, Paul Holmgren, flew up to my hometown of Dryden to check in.
Back then GM's and Coaches would often go to visit players at their summer homes.
Homer wanted to see how I was doing mentally and physically. ie. Was I in shape? Had I been working out? Was my mind ready to take the next step?
We fished, we talked and we fished some more, mainly for Muskie. I had a good rapport with Homer and I think he liked me as well. We had a great visit and I thought it went well.
I dropped Homer off at the airport, reinvigorated and excited for the season.
Little did I know what was about to happen...
I got a call from my agent, Pat Morris, around 6pm as I was sitting in my living room with a friend of mine.
You've been traded to the St. Louis Blues. WOW! I was fired up and excited for this new opportunity!
However this was also the beginning of my understanding that professional sports is 100% a business!
From this point in time on, I always understood the business side of the NHL and also the toll it can take.
For those athletes that have been traded from a meddling bottom tier franchise to a team on the rise that always had high expectations, it is like being reborn!
I was elated and excited to be going to a team like the St Louis Blues that had the likes of Brett Hull, Al MacInnis, etc.
You get giddy thinking about what your team will look like, who your teammates are, and who your defense partner would be in my case.
Back to what happened with Homer. Apparently Homer checked in with GM Jim Rutherford once he landed in Thunder Bay for his connection to Toronto-Hartford to fill him in on how I was doing.
Jimmy stopped him mid sentence and told him he had just traded me to St Louis for Brendan Shanahan.