Trade Period Tough

Sometimes there’s speculation. Sometimes there’s insider information. Sometimes there’s leaked reports, scoops and surprise transactions, but what about the other side of the story? The personal story behind every trade. Do we ever see or hear about that side of the story or trade?

What toll does the trade period really have on players, their families or billet families?

Billet families are the backbone of junior hockey in this country. Without them there’s no junior hockey, and they know all to well about the business side of the game, but it still doesn’t make it easy on their families and players that they open up their homes for to be moved.

Trades are part of the business, it’s part of the process, everyone knows that before getting into it, but that still doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye.

You see the players and their families rely so heavily on their billets families unwavering support through all the ups and downs.

Some would say the writing is on the wall and many players and their supporters are well aware of what’s going to happen. They know the end is near. A matter of fact for many the end is always in the back of the minds of the players, their families and billets, the trade period only increases the tension and stress of the entire process.

Don’t players and their agents have a feeling that they might get moved? Do certain players want out and ask for a trade? Those on the outside looking in will never understand. In some cases the billet families know more about trades then the junior circuits most trusted insiders.

Billet families are at the front lines of the business side, and they have probably been fighting that fight for several years, but yet they are still willing to open their doors to young aspiring hockey players every year.

Billet families are a special breed, they’re so inviting, invested and involved. Nevertheless, the trade period takes an unexplainable toll on them. For some the relationship they have cultivated may have only been for a few months or for several years, the bonds formed still run deep.

The lead up to the dreaded trade period may be exciting for the fans and analysts, it’s hell on the players, their families and every single billet.

A matter of fact, it’s hell for the GM’s as well. Organizations make trades that they believe will strengthen their hockey club moving forward.

They make trades to give players an opportunity to play or get more ice time, so they can flourish or have a fresh start.

They make trades based on loyalty to the player and their service with the organization, matching them up with a potential winner. Perhaps the most devastating aspect of all of this is the toll it has on billet families. They lose their adopted son. Many billet families have young families, and trades cut the deepest with the sons and daughters who in many cases are young hockey players as well. They lose their hero and their billet brother all in one fail swoop.

The business side and the personal side always collide at some point.

The traded player says goodbye to their best friends, and their second home, is that where the trade story ends or just begins?

For some it might be the final time they play in the league, for others the trade changes the course of their career for the better. The one constants that exists throughout the entire process is the love and bond formed between the player and their billet family.

Some trades are blockbusters, some trades change the course of a franchises history, but these trades will never break the bond forged between the player and their billets.

Every story is unique, every trade has several layers, that’s why this time of year is so intriguing, but yet so stressful and painfully agonizing for those billet families holding their breath for the better part of a month or two.

We all have a role to play in the game, we all have a role to play in the process. Billet families know the game, they know the process and reluctantly they are familiar with the business side. They have been playing that game and have seen the game played for many years. Every phone call, text message or speculation article in the media takes its toll this time of year.

It’s extremely difficult for any billet family to relax and enjoy the holiday season. Impending doom is always lurking until the trade period closes and the hectic life of a billet family returns to some state of normalcy.

This time of year is hell on billet families, but they won’t be the ones to show it, they will never want to be a distraction for their second son, because their trade period tough.

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