Every now and then, a player will “join” a team via a trade, only to never play a game with that team before being traded again.
It’s part of the process during three-team trades, whether they’re official or unofficial, so that was the case with Mike Hoffman and the San Jose Sharks. For a few hours, he was a “member” of the team after Sharks sent very little to the Ottawa Senators in a trade for Hoffman, only for the Sharks to flip Hoffman to the Florida Panthers.
You’d imagine that there’s no animosity on either side, as that trade allowed the Sharks to get out of Mikkel Boedker‘s problem contract.
For many, it was a mere transactional curiosity, something that would inspire a few “Oh yeah, that happened,” type responses.
Yet, for a group of Sharks fans, Hoffman’s “return” to San Jose provided an opportunity for trolling at such a level that even Hoffman approved. Teal City Crew, a “fan-driven supporter club of the Sharks” located in section 218, decided to create a banner honoring Hoffman’s mere hours with the Sharks.
It was very good, so good that Hoffman had to have it for himself.
Hoffman apparently had those fans invited to Panthers practice on Friday, so he could collect that “keepsake.”
As isolated and unusual as the situation is, it does bring some other recent events to mind.
Good-natured trolling: Sidney Crosby was so amused by the laser-precise heckling of a New York Rangers fan, that he made sure that fan received a customized, autographed stick.
Grief for banners: Perhaps the widespread mockery the Nashville Predators received for putting up banners for smaller accomplishments provided some inspiration, too?
[When should your team hang a banner?]
With any random scroll on social media, you face uncomfortably high odds of seeing something terrible. If you follow a lot of sports fans and figures, sometimes things go too far when a player has a tough game.
So, while these gestures seem minor, it’s pretty refreshing to see such friendly interactions between players and fans of rival teams.
Hot take: being nice is even more underrated than Mike Hoffman.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.