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Johnny Gaudreau on his Flames departure: ‘It’s the toughest decision we’ve ever had to make’

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
6 months ago
In his recent media appearances, former Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau promised that he had something planned to explain his departure to Flames fans. That “something” was an article penned at the Players’ Tribute, where Gaudreau explained his decision-making process behind signing elsewhere.
Gaudreau cited the distance from his family as a key factor in his decision-making. He noted his father’s 2018 heart attack and his relationship with his now-wife in shaping the things he values now:
I’ve learned a lot from her about how to balance those two things: a passion for your work with a passion for the people in your life. I’ve learned a lot about the person I want to be. Which is a good son, a good husband, and (soon!) a good father.
And, in the end, trying to find this balance is what this decision came down to.
Among other tidbits:
  • Even after Gaudreau informed the Flames of his departure, a seven-year deal with Calgary was “on the table for the entire process.”
  • Gaudreau wanted to re-sign last summer, “but it just didn’t work out and we thought this summer might be different.”
Here’s how Gaudreau closed it out:
I know stuff like this is what every player tells a fan base when they leave … but it’s like I said: My story isn’t the story of every player. Not every player was a five-six, 130-pound USHLer when one of the NHL’s most storied franchises took a chance on him.
I felt like the luckiest guy in hockey when that happened, and I still do.
I hope the people of Calgary can remember me not only as a hockey player, but also as a good person with good values. Thank you for supporting me over these years, and for making my family a part of yours.
All-in-all, it sounds like a completely reasonable set of circumstances. In my dealings with him over the past decade, Gaudreau’s come across as a shy person in scrum and press conference settings, and it makes sense that he needed some time to organize his thoughts before expressing how much his time in Calgary meant to him.
Columbus makes their one and only visit to the Saddledome on Jan. 23.

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