SUN Hockey Pool

Fans outraged over Pronger asking to be traded

MICHELLE MARK -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:39 PM ET

Good luck, Chris Pronger ... and good riddance.

That was the sentiment echoing among Oilers fans yesterday over the news that Edmonton's star defenceman is looking for a trade to another NHL town.

Pronger's agent confirmed Friday that his client requested a trade for unspecified "personal reasons" - a move that many Edmontonians say is a shot straight to the heart.

"I think it sucks," said Jerry Warner.

"(Oilers fans) supported him through the playoffs and this is the thanks he gives us. It's sad that it had to come down to this."

On the Edmonton Oilers' fan blog yesterday, rumours of Pronger's trade were met with disbelief and many dismissed the reports as untrue.

"I really can't believe this, to be honest," said one fan.

"It is a huge kick in the guts to our team, the city of Edmonton and most of all, the fans. I have such mixed feelings about this. "

Another fan on the blog urged Pronger to slam the door on his way out, if reports suggesting he and his wife just don't like living in Edmonton turn out to be true.

"That is a direct shot at every fan that not only loves the Oilers but the city we live in.

"Send them packing."

When contacted at his home in Dryden, Ont., just prior to yesterday's draft, Pronger's dad said his son hadn't alerted him to a possible trade.

"He hasn't said anything to us about it," said Jim Pronger.

"I'm not sure what's going on."

He said his son had never given him any indication that he didn't like living in Edmonton after he was traded from the St. Louis Blues in 2005.

"He seems happy in Edmonton," Jim said.

But he said whatever his son decides to do, his family is behind him 100%.

"I'll support any decision he makes."

Pronger still has four more years to run with the Oilers on a deal that pays him $6.25 million US a season.

Pronger's wife Lauren is from St. Louis and was staying there earlier this month, catching up with family and friends.

Lauren met Chris when she was in college and he was a star with the Blues.

It is not yet known if the couple and their two children plan to return to that city to live.

But Mayor Stephen Mandel asked, rhetorically, why anyone would want to live elsewhere.

"It's such a beautiful city ... why would anyone want to leave?" he said, adding Pronger performed "wonderfully" throughout the playoffs and made the city proud.

He also said Pronger's departure will be a loss for the Oilers, but he bears no hard feelings personally.

"He's perfectly entitled to do what he wants to do," Mandel said.

"He and his wife have their reasons (for wanting to move), and we wish them the best."


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