Johnny Gaudreau says he was always willing to stay with the Calgary Flames.
However, the pull of being closer to family became too strong.
The star winger wrote an article in The Players’ Tribune, published Wednesday, in which he attempted to explain his decision to freehand the only NHL team he’d ever known before the Columbus Blue Jackets allow
Gaudreau said he hasn’t made up his mind to leave Calgary, even after turning down an eight-year contract extension before coming to the open market.
“I was still contemplating going back and trying to work on a seven-year deal to stay,” he wrote. “It was all on the table throughout the process.
“Maybe this looks messy – but life is messy, you know?”
As the 28-year-old, who grew up in New Jersey, opened up about what contributed to his decision to fly to Ohio from southern Alberta, he said the idea of ”just getting on a plane” brings his loved ones to see is not that easy people think for an NHL player.
This is how Flames fans react to Johnny Gaudreau’s departure
Gaudreau signed a seven-year, $68.25 million deal with Columbus last Wednesday after scoring 40 goals and 115 points in 82 games with Calgary in 2021-22.
“I am incredibly grateful to be an NHL player and to be earning the salary I deserve,” Gaudreau wrote. “I don’t take it for granted for a second. Which adds to why money wasn’t the main deciding factor for me. But the idea that Meredith (his wife who is expecting the couple’s first child) and I can just fly to and from home or visit loved ones isn’t a problem because we have money?
“It’s not that easy. Our families are still working full-time. Our siblings have their own lives. Our nieces and nephews are in school. It’s a difficult journey for people and it’s only gotten harder with the pandemic. “
Gaudreau, who was drafted by Calgary in the fourth round of the 2011 draft, called leaving “the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make.”
Johnny Gaudreau leaves Calgary for Columbus as Star Forward signs with the Blue Jackets
He left Calgary after scoring 210 goals and 609 points in 602 regular-season games. Gaudreau added 33 points in 42 playoff games.
“I treasured the time I spent in Calgary,” Gaudreau wrote. “For a long time, Meredith and I saw our future there. We wanted to re-sign last summer. We were looking for houses to raise a family. But it just didn’t work out and we thought this summer could be different.
“But that doesn’t change how I feel right now. I’m so proud to have been on this team and represent this city. And for the past few weeks – I’ve struggled every time I think about it. All the relationships we’ve built here, all the amazing friendships we have — I could feel them in my chest every time I thought about leaving.”
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https://globalnews.ca/news/9003751/johnny-gaudreau-pens-letter-calgary-flames-fans-after-leaving/ ‘To Calgary’: Johnny Gaudreau writes letter to Flames fans