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Every single year in the National Hockey League we see players traded from one team to another with varying levels of success, and in the case of the bigger trades we dissect them ad nauseum attempting to predict who will emerge the winner of the trade when it is all said and done.
That's all well and good when you're looking at the sport of hockey from a business perspective, and it most definitely is a business in the modern era of the NHL, but sometimes decision are made even at the highest levels of hockey that have very little to do with business and everything to do with the deeply personal.
In his recent book, former NHL general manager and current Pittsburgh Penguins president Brian Burke revealed that he was involved in one such instance when he was general manager of the Vancouver Canucks. Burke, who has always been one of the more brash and outspoken personalities in the NHL, shared the story of the time he traded former NHL goaltender turned NHL analyst Kevin Weekes from the Canucks to the New York Islanders and admitted that a clash of personalities was the real reason for the move.
In the book Burke recalls how Weekes had begun to wear on both the team's staff and the players in the locker room due to what honestly comes off as a bizarre personality if Burke is to believed. Burke explains that Weekes had shown up extremely late for a game and proceeded to concoct an incredibly strange story about a robbery that seems too unbelievable to be true.
As the story would have it, Weekes was confronted by a stranger outside of a laundromat in Vancouver who then proceeded to ask the goaltender to follow him. Weekes, for some inexplicable reason, would have then hopped into his own car, a different car, and followed the stranger into an alley where said stranger would have proceeded to rob him. It is an unbelievable tale on so many levels and unsurprisingly it, as well as other incidents involving Weekes during his time in Vancouver, rubbed many in the Canucks organization the wrong way. The fact that Weekes changed his story and refused to get law enforcement involved didn't help matters. One of the teammates that seemingly struggled with the goaltender's antics was none other than legendary NHL forward Mark Messier, a man with his own unflattering past when it comes to the Canucks.
Here's how Burke tells it in Burke's Law: A Life in Hockey:
“Burkie, can I talk to you for a minute?” he asked.
I went back into the training room, where he had kicked everyone else out. Then he closed the door behind us. Mess was stripped to the waist and he still had his skates on, so he was towering over me. He leaned in with that look in his eyes.
“Trade him or I’ll fucking kill him,” he said, and then walked out.
So needless to say, I traded Kevin Weekes.
It would seem that if there was ever any bad blood between Burke and Weekes from their time in Vancouver it has long since been buried, at least as far as Burke is concerned, the former Canucks GM also took the time to compliment Weekes on his excellent broadcasting career in the book.