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Thread: 'Toughest decision'

  1. #1

    Default 'Toughest decision'

    'Toughest decision': Pats' GM had a tough time pulling the trigger

    Greg Harder, The Leader-Post
    Published: Friday, January 19, 2007

    Brent Parker has orchestrated nearly 100 trades on behalf of the Regina Pats, but one in particular stands out amongst them all.

    When Parker sent Derek Hulak to his home-town Saskatoon Blades prior to last Wednesday's WHL trade deadline, it ended the most gut-wrenching negotiation he has endured in 12 seasons as a WHL general manager.

    "Without question it was the toughest decision, the toughest player move that I've ever had to make," offered Parker, whose squad visits the Blades tonight at the Credit Union Centre. "There were some sleepless nights when the situation was first broached. You don't have enough space in your sports section for me to tell you how difficult it was."

    The Pats would never have approached Saskatoon about a trade involving one of their brightest prospects had it not been for extenuating circumstances involving Hulak's mother, who is battling cancer.

    The 17-year-old forward had already been spending most of his time at home in Saskatoon and only played in two of Regina's last seven games before the deal was consummated.

    "It was a difficult situation that we were going through, but not nearly as difficult as what Derek's family is going through," noted Parker, who eventually agreed on a compensation package that included left-winger Michael MacAngus. Regina also got a third- and a fifth-round bantam pick in 2007 while Saskatoon received a fourth-rounder.

    In negotiating the deal, Parker had to walk a fine line between personal morality and doing what was best for his team. He also had to worry about the consequences of dealing with an East Division rival, the same team that currently sits just two points behind Regina in the fight for a playoff berth.

    "To be honest, if we traded him, there were going to be some people who questioned my sanity and if we didn't trade him there were going to be people who questioned my heart," said Parker. "It was probably a no-win situation from that aspect. There were a lot of emotions involved. Through it all, you still have to be able to make a deal. I can't just give a player away for nothing. When we got to (finalizing the deal), I wouldn't have signed it if I felt we weren't getting fair value back. In the end, I feel good about doing something for a family that needed it. In saying that, we were able to do it without compromising my responsibilities to our team too."

    The Pats are expecting more conflicted emotions tonight when they oppose Hulak for the first time.

    "We think a lot of Derek as a person and a player," said Parker. "From that aspect, yeah, it will be a little bit different. You wish him success -- except against us."

    Hulak is already making his presence felt in Saskatoon. He has one goal and three assists in three games with his new team.

    "I know what the Regina Pats thought of Derek," said Blades head coach/GM Lorne Molleken. "They pictured him as one of their cornerstones for many years to come. After having Derek here for the short time that we have, I can see why."

    Parker suggested his relationship with Molleken made the process of working out a trade somewhat easier. The men worked side by side in 2000-01 when Regina played host to the Memorial Cup.

    "We've battled in the trenches together," noted Molleken. "You form relationships and trust with certain people at the management level in the league and I think we have that. We have respect for each other."

    After the deal was completed, Hulak told the Saskatoon StarPhoenix: "I can't express how thankful I am to both of them for finding something that works so I can continue to play hockey and also be with my mom."

    Given the circumstances of the trade, it was a delicate process for everyone involved.

    "I know how difficult this was on Brent," added Molleken. "Regina thought so much of young Hulak that they didn't want to trade him. But Brent found it in his heart to honour their request. From our point of view, Michael MacAngus was a true warrior. We had to give up something to get something. Trust me, it was just as difficult for us to part with Michael as it was for Regina to part with Derek. That tells a lot about both of these young guys.

    "I know it will work out real good for both teams."

    The Leader-Post (Regina) 2007

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006


    It is nice to see, that there is more to hockey than just business! The two GM should be proud of themselves. applause

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