Tuesday, September 11, 2007

How a trade is announced

For anyone interested, here's how we officially announce a trade. I figure this is a good time to do this because it looks like we'll have a swap of prospects in a little while.

1. The GMs of each team finalize their deal. Sometimes this takes minutes, sometimes hours, sometimes weeks. I do not exaggerate.

2. The NHL Hockey Ops office conducts a conference call between the GMs and their top aides. The NHL serves as a sort of moderator to make sure everything is agreed to - trading of draft picks and in which year, bonuses, moving expenses, anything you can think of. These calls can be five minutes or a whole heckuva lot longer.

3. The players involved in the deal are contacted by their (now) former clubs. This is important. Most of the time teams are trading players they like, players they've been in the trenches with for years or maybe a kid they've watched develop. Understandably, the GMs want to deliver the news first-hand. They don't want players learning about it from Pierre LeBrun of Canadian Press or the guys on TSN or Sportsnet. I know of trades where it took the teams hours to find the players because they were at a movie, or even (in the offseason) on a different continent.

4. Once the players are reached, the PR staffs of the two teams discuss a time to release the news. Then you hope everyone keeps their word, which has never been a problem in my experience with my PR colleagues around the league.

Nevertheless, it sometimes hasn't stopped a (cough, Canadian) GM from contacting a (cough, Canadian) reporter whom he feels he owes a scoop and then some player ultimately learns his fate in the most unprofessional way possible. This isn't a concern of mine today. The young players in this deal have already been contacted and the PR guy at the other team and I have agreed on a release time. It most likely will not get out because the young players involved are not big names yet and the teams are from the US of A.

But you never know.

And that is how a trade gets announced.

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