It was 2006 when Tony Amonte was playing for the Calgary Flames. I was able to pull him aside and ask him about what it was like to be traded. Not about his role with his new team or what he thinks of the new city. What was the impact on his family?
"It’s a double-edged sword. The first one is really the one that catches you off guard. You really don’t know it’s coming. You don’t know what to expect. You don’t know how to act. The way you have to look at it is there’s a team that really wants you bad."
While fans know that players must report to their new city as soon as possible, nobody thinks about the logistics behind that.
"It’s brutal. Especially if you’re a single guy. You’ve got to pack up and leave right away. You’ve got to find friends to let the movers in and let the movers pick up your crap. If you’re married, fortunately you’ll have a wife you can leave behind and she has to do all the work, unfortunately. That’s the worst part about being traded is the move – upload and moving your stuff across the country. Your car is over there and everything else. As far as the trade itself goes, it’s usually pretty smooth. You get the call. You’re on the next plane out. You leave everything. Fortunately for most guys, they’ve got great friends, great wives, and people who will look after their stuff and take care of some issues for them while they’re gone."
Even if they hadn't played with someone before, through from past tournaments, all star games, and player association functions, many players do know a lot of players on other teams. It's still an adjustment. The room has a different chemistry and when you first arrive, you don't really know where you fit in.
It's nice when one of the vets steps up to the plate.
"Guys know, especially in the middle of the season, when the new guy comes on the team, take him in, make sure you talk to him as much as you can, get to know the guy, dinners, if the guy needs anything while he’s in town. If he needs a rental car, you can hopefully set him up with some people. Whatever the guy needs to just make him comfortable. When you get to a city, you want to feel comfortable. You don’t want to feel like you’re all alone and sitting in a hotel every night. Guys will invite you out to dinner, go here, just do things and keep busy."