More than business: a player's perspective on the trade deadline

Wings captain Brodie Merrill. (Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Wings)

The trade deadline is always a stressful time of year.

For a team that is 3-9, there has been a sense of uneasiness in our locker room heading into the deadline.

This year’s deadline has recently come and gone, and the most notable trade across the league involved the Wings and our long time goalie, Brandon Miller. Brandon has been with the team for seven years and has experienced a lot in his time in Philadelphia. We also lost two great players and teammates in Kevin Ross and Chad Wiedmaier. 

After a transaction in professional sports, you often hear that it's "just a business." I tend to disagree with that statement. I know that many decisions in professional sports are motivated by money, but I think the statement diminishes the connection a player has with his team and teammates. When you are part of a team, you become immersed in the city, the team culture and tradition.

It becomes a part of who you are and a part of your identity. It can be a real source of pride.

Being a part of the Philadelphia Wings has meaning for the players on our team. NLL players sacrifice a lot for their team: physically, mentally and emotionally. With the Wings’ impressive history, there is also a unique fraternity with former players like Jake Bergey, Tom Marechek, Dallas Eliuk, and Scott Gabrielson.

It's an interesting dynamic when you join a team. People that you may or may not have known before become your teammates and you instantly relate to them on a different level. I've had opponents that I have played against for years and had some intense and emotional battles with. When you become teammates you leave the past behind (albeit, in some cases it takes time). After you play with someone, that connection remains for life.

I heard a great quote once: "You can fool your coaches, but you can never fool your teammates.”

You see your teammates in many situations: traveling, rooming with each other on the road, interacting in between drills or after practice. You get to know their true character. All the experiences we have together including: the late night conversations after a loss; dissecting, strategizing, and trying to theorize what happened and what to do to correct it, the empty feeling you have after a bad game, and the great feeling of celebrating with teammates after a hard-fought win.

You share in the losses and the victories and there is something special about going through the highs and lows together.

I have shared a lot of great moments with Brandon in Philadelphia as well as some difficult times; none more difficult than the passing of his brother and my close friend, Kyle. He was the first person I talked to when I was traded to the Wings. I can remember the feeling of excitement I had knowing I would get to play with Brandon. We traveled together and have had countless conversations about the Wings. I know how much he cared about the Wings and his teammates. He will go down as one of the best players to ever play for the Wings and he should feel proud about his time here.

The wins and losses are obviously very important in the moment, but when you reflect on your career, you will always appreciate the time you shared with your teammates and the lifelong relationships formed the most. Best of luck to Brandon, Kevin, and Chad.