Professional sports are a strange thing. Unless a team moves to a different city, or someone sells his loyalty on eBay, fans rarely ever change their allegiances. However, players move teams quite often.
That means you’re bound to end up with a few situations where someone you’ve cheered for years is now suddenly a member of your biggest rival. Of course, the opposite happens as well and then you’re forced to applaud a player who you once wished would have horrible things happen to him.
Such is life as a hockey fan.
In the spirit of free agency, and because it may be taking longer to get over Jaromir Jagr signing with the Flyers than expected, here are a few examples of players who have crossed enemy lines.
Of course, many of these players had a few stop overs in between teams, so they didn’t all directly cross over to the opposition. Some players didn’t have a choice either, since they were traded.
After being traded to New Jersey by the Leafs, Gilmour spent time with the Devils, Blackhawks and Sabres before signing with the Montreal Canadiens in 2001. He played 131 games for the Habs over two seasons before being traded back to Toronto. Gilmour was unfortunately injured during his first game back as a Leaf and he retired in Toronto.
Dustin Penner has seen both sides of this California rivalry. He started his career with the Ducks before signing an offer sheet with the Edmonton Oilers that made Brian Burke very unhappy. He was then traded to Los Angeles at the 2011 trade deadline and he has not been seen since.
Scott Gomez spent seven seasons in New Jersey before signing a ridiculous contract with the New York Rangers in 2007.
The image of Healy on the Islanders is from GoaliesArchive.com.
Healy played with the Islanders for four seasons, leading them on their 1993 Cinderella run to the Wales Conference Final. He was then picked up by Anaheim in the 1993 expansion draft but was selected by Tampa Bay in phase two of the draft the next day. He was then traded on that same day to the New York Rangers where he won the Stanley Cup in 1994.
Rick Tocchet was part of a rare trade between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992. He won the Cup that year with Pittsburgh.
Marian Hossa angered many Penguins fans when he chose the Detroit Red Wings over the Penguins in the summer of 2008. Not content to alienate just one fanbase, Hossa signed with Detroit’s rival the Chicago Blackhawks the following summer where he finally won the Stanley Cup.
In a famous video that has apparently been removed from YouTube, Chris Chelios said that he hated Detroit and that he didn’t think he could ever play for the Red Wings. In 1999 he was traded to Detroit and he spent 10 years with the Wings. He now works in the Wings’ front office.
Guy Lafleur was one of the greatest players in Montreal Canadiens history when he retired in 1985. He returned to the NHL in 1988 with the New York Rangers before signing with the Quebec Nordiques where he spent two seasons.
Mike Komisarek was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 2001. He left the team as a free agent in the summer of 2009, signing with the rival Toronto Maple Leafs.
That didn’t stop him from helping out his old team though:
When your NHL career is as long as Mark Recchi’s was, you’re bound to play for some rivals. Recchi had three stints with the Penguins and two with the Flyers as well as spending time with both Montreal and Boston.
Obviously, these aren’t all of the players who have suited up for two rivals. Which player did it hurt the most to see in the “wrong” uniform?