Originally created 12/13/01

Trades part of business in hockey

Editor's note: This is the tenth in a series of weekly diaries compiled by Augusta Lynx rookie forward Josh St. Louis as he chronicles his first pro season. The 25-year-old St. Louis will share his thoughts each Thursday during the season with staff writer Rob Mueller.

It was definitely an eventful week for our hockey club with the big news of the moves that were made Tuesday.

Our coach, Jim Burton, traded defenseman Jim Baxter to Mississippi for one of the league's top scorers, Jeff Bes. Because of the league's veteran rule, coach is also working on a trade for Jessie Rezansoff to open up a spot for Bes.

Trades are always tough. For me, it's really hard to see both those guys go. I've known Jessie a long time. We played together in junior and he's one of my roommates here. You hate to see Jimmy Baxter go, too, because he's just an unbelievable guy.

But it's part of the business. When you play pro hockey, it's part of the game. You have to expect trades at any given time.

The unfortunate thing is you build really good friendships. That doesn't mean the friendship will end, but when guys are traded away, you hate the idea of not seeing them everyday anymore.

The flip side is that trades can make new friendships. Like with Jessie. Six years ago, he was traded to my team in junior. If he didn't get traded, I never would have met him or become such good friends with him.

And the good thing about the hockey world is that it's so small, and somewhere down the road, you know you're going to bump into those guys again. Jessie is probably going to be living in Calgary this summer, and that's where I live, so I'm sure we'll see each other quite a bit.

As a rookie coming into a new league and a new team this year, Jessie has been so helpful to me. He took me under his wing a bit, showing me around and introducing me to a lot of people. It opened some doors for me in this town, and for that, I'll always be grateful.

And then there's Jimmy Baxter. He's such a great guy. Another thing that is unique to hockey is that, no matter where you go, the guys on the team seem to get along like a big family. That was the case with Jimmy. We didn't get to play with him for long, but he's become a really good friend. Like I said, we're all going to miss him, and we certainly hope this is a good move for his career.

To be honest, these moves caught me a bit off guard. I had no idea a trade was going to happen now. I was a little surprised when Jessie came back to the apartment Tuesday afternoon and told me the news.

Not surprisingly, his spirits are up. He's a professional hockey player and a professional guy, and he knows how to carry himself when things like this happen. He's smart and has a great head on his shoulders, so you know he's going to land on his feet. He knows what to expect when a trade happens and knows how to prepare. Wherever he ends up, you know he's going to do well.

There's two sides to every coin, and we're getting a great guy coming in here in Jeff Bes. From what I hear, he's a great hockey player, and I think the guys are pretty excited about him coming aboard.

In a time like this when the team is struggling, this could be exactly what we need. Something to give us an added boost or added incentive to go out and try something different as far as line combinations. Hopefully, this will spark us.

Ironically, the night before the moves, all the guys got together for a team dinner. Without question, it was the best bonding time the team has had so far.

The night was designed more or less as a rookie dinner, kind of to introduce the new guys to the league and the team. We went to Shogun, a Japanese restaurant, and just had an awesome night.

We had our own private room and three personal chefs, and we were there for quite a while. The guys were sitting around jabbing one another, laughing at one another, just letting loose for a bit. I think it was a perfect time to have something like that because the team has been struggling. Plus, we had a few days off before our next game, so we were able to just relax and not have to worry too much about hockey, at least for one night.

Again, our night out was an example of how close this team really is. The vets on this team treat the rookies like veterans, which isn't the case on every team.

Even on the ice, guys like David Wilkie are always out there after practice working with the rookies, showing us stuff. Wilks also goes out of his way to spend time with us, whether it be driving us to the rink or coming over to the place to hang out. Stuff like that really brings teams together and, hopefully, that will start to show in the games.

Speaking of games, this weekend is a great opportunity for us to pick ourselves up and get back on track. We still feel very good about our team and think we're one the verge of big things. With Bes coming in now and the guys continuing to work hard, we know things will get better.


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