SUN Hockey Pool

Flames 'deal' with it

The Calgary Flames' newest member Brad Stuart meets the media on Monday after being traded from the...

The Calgary Flames' newest member Brad Stuart meets the media on Monday after being traded from the Boston Bruins last week. (Sun Media/Jack Cusano)

ERIC FRANCIS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

Right or wrong, fans have visions of Andrew Ference standing outside in the cold of a Buffalo night, clutching his travel bag and waving goodbye to his pals while the Flames bus pulled away Saturday.

Informed at the back of the bus by coach Rich Preston moments earlier he had been traded to hockey's purgatory -- Boston -- the Alberta native then suffered the indignity of having to fish his luggage out from under the bus. Capping it all off, word was he had to catch a lift with former teammate Toni Lydman to a hotel.

Truth is, hotel and car arrangements had been made for Ference by the Flames who did the best they could to relay the news with class.

However, in hockey, like life, there's no easy way to inform someone they've been let go.

"It can be a cruel business at times and that's proof of it there," said Byron Ritchie. "I think everybody was pretty shocked. It's the first time I've seen that but it's kind of similar to when Monty (Steve Montador) was traded in Detroit and the bus pulled away and he was still standing there."

Seems like almost everyone on the Flames has a memorable trade story, good or bad.

Jarome Iginla initially thought he'd been traded to the upstart Calgary Hitmen, a horrifying prospect given the 18-year-old Dallas draft pick was a member of the two-time defending Memorial Cup champs in Kamloops.

Rhett Warrener was informed he had become a Flame in 2003 while he was visiting for the Stampede.

"I was fishing in Tampa and when I got home I had 15 voicemails so I knew something was going on," said Roman Hamrlik of his 1997 trade to Edmonton.

Marcus Nilson, who relished the phone call informing him his trade request from Florida had been fulfilled, said the worst thing that can happen is hearing the news from an outside source. That's what Craig Conroy went through when St. Louis sent him here.

"Nick Kypreos called me and asked about the trade and I started talking about how good a player (Keith) Tkachuk is and he said, 'No, your trade.' I hadn't been called yet," said Conroy, whose recent trade saw him take a pricey cab ride from Red Deer after the Kings left him there.

"As great a life as this is, there are some tough parts and being told you're traded is one of them."

Wayne Primeau was told after the Bruins tilt Saturday he would be playing for Calgary less than 24 hours later.

"My five-and-a-half-year-old son was sleeping when I got home and was still sleeping when I got up so I didn't get a chance to say goodbye -- that sucks," he said.

As bad as that was, Primeau said it was even tougher being traded from San Jose last year as part of the Joe Thornton deal when he was informed in the coach's office after pre-game warmup.

As for Preston, he dreads delivering such news.

"It's probably the worst job in the business," said Preston, who pointed out he was fishing in remote Saskatchewan when he was traded in 1984, making him the last to know of his deal three days later.

"Especially after a game with guys on the bus. But, you've got to give him a chance to say goodbye to his teammates and they were all on the bus for Andy."

Some, with tears in their eyes.


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