Down Goes Brown: 8 times an NHL star got traded against his will – Sportsnet.ca

With the hockey off-season staying quiet and the Toronto Blue Jays flatlining, the biggest news in Canadian pro sports continues to be the Toronto Raptors‘ recent blockbuster. By adding Kawhi Leonard, the team may have improved their chances of winning the Eastern Conference next year. But the deal came at a cost, with the popular DeMar DeRozan heading to San Antonio in the deal.

That’s a tough spot for an organization, because DeRozan didn’t want to be traded. He made that clear before the trade, and especially so in the days immediately after. Sports is a business, as we’re constantly reminded, but it’s difficult for a fan to see a popular player leave town against his will.

Every now and then, we see something similar in the NHL. Most big hockey deals are pulled off with at least some cooperation from the player, and some are outright forced by a star who wants to be elsewhere. But occasionally, a star is traded against his will. Here are eight times it happened, and how it worked out for everyone involved.

1. Wayne Gretzky, 1988

The player: Wayne Gretzky. You may have heard of him.

We may as well start with the obvious example of a player’s grief at being dealt. Gretzky’s press-conference breakdown, complete with his quip about how he’d “promised Mess I wouldn’t do this,” is burned into the memories of a generation of hockey fans.

The trade: The Oilers — or more specifically, owner Peter Pocklington — sent Gretzky to Los Angeles along with Mike Krushelnyski and Marty McSorley in exchange for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, three first-round picks and a truckload of cash.

How unhappy was he? That’s a matter of at least some debate; Pocklington would later infamously accuse Gretzky of shedding “crocodile tears”

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