Danny Brire stood solo in the cold Denver night. Tears streamed down his cheeks as the rest of the Coyotes boarded a team bus on which he was no longer welcome.
I remember it like it was yesterday, Brire said Thursday. That was tough.
Following a 2-2 tie with the Colorado Avalanche on March 10, 2003, then-general manager Mike Barnett informed Brire that hed been traded to Buffalo for center Chris Gratton in a deal that also included draft picks. The idea, at the time, was to get bigger up the middle to compete against the Western Conferences burly middle men.
For the 25-year-old Brire, logic took a back seat to emotion.
Id never been traded, and I didnt want to leave, he said. I made a lot of friends in Phoenix. It was my home. Id never had that feeling before. When they tell you they dont want you any more, its a feeling of complete rejection.
Its amazing how eight years have altered that perspective.
Looking back, it was probably the best thing that ever happened to my care...