When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for a player to excise him/herself from a team, and in doing so create a hole in the back of the leadership of said team approximately the size of a Wusthof 6 inch hollow edge chef's knife, a decent respect to the interests of the league requires the recently-stabbed to declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
I should know, it's happened to me twice.
The first is well-documented: I was GM of the Calgary Wranglers from S26 to S41. For much of the league's history, this was the record for longest GMing tenure - a fact that is laughable at the moment given how readily @hedgehog337 and @Banackock have turned such a run into child's play, but nonetheless it was true. I had a defenseman on my team by the name of Ryan Sullivan, @Advantage's player, and a GM spot became open in New York that he was a logical candidate for, so I traded him there for Skylar Rift, @Devise's player and someone I assumed would be my franchise goalie for the rest of his career. Goalies simply didn't move at the time barring complete shifts in team direction, or so it seemed. Not too long after that, however, I was not entirely on top of things contract-wise during the season and despite my efforts after the season ended, he left in FA (along with several other players from other teams to form somewhat of a powerhouse in Quebec, although some questioned the methods by which that team was built). I didn't know it at the time, but apparently he'd been planning to leave partway through the season, which would have been nice to know but he kept it close to the vest.
Obviously that wound has long since healed as Devise remains one of my closest friends on the site to this day (and as was made clear in the ensuing decades, I was partially to blame for the whole thing in that particular case). It's in a 40 for 40, which for the most part has closed the book on that chapter, and it's now simply just another moment in history. I only bring it up here as it has relevance to another situation that just occurred hours ago.
Apparently, I'm just a very stabbable person.
This particular GMing run, as the inaugural GM of the Prague Phantoms, began in S68 when the team was created. As an expansion, we were terrible for some time, then got mediocre, then had a few promising years (one of which we deserved better from the sim, and were led in goal by a certain Brick Wahl, which will become important in the ensuing paragraphs). Nonetheless, it has not been a particularly successful go around, sim-wise anyway, but it's been much more fun because I've taken the success of the team with a grain of salt and instead have focused more on generating a good team atmosphere and a place people want to play, especially if they've already done so once before and liked it at the time. There have been a lot of people I've gotten to know well over this run, from the only member I've now GMed on both teams @Doomsday, to multi-league veterans such as @Sharkstrong, @omgitshim and @Cornholio, to guys that have been around in this league for varying lengths of time such as @animal74, @Seabass, @Fire Vigneault, and @wcats. Many of you know, however, that I have a tendency toward promising first gens. It's why I've ultimately always been more at home in the VHLM in some capacity, whether as GM or as a commissioner. I've played a proud role in bringing a lot of guys their first experience with the league - for example, one of the guys I GMed in Ottawa before taking Prague is now sitting beside me in the other commissioner seat ( @McWolf ) and it's always a pleasure to work with him. For Prague itself, it's been a lineup of guys that in many cases have gone on to do quite a bit for themselves here, the most prominent current example being @Domg5, but along with that there's @Gaikoku-hito, @JB123, @Baby Boomer, @Mistxh J and many more. Apologies if your name's not here, I don't think anyone wants to just read off a list of names. My point is that I've gotten to know a lot of people, most of whom I consider friends in some capacity.
Then there's @BladeMaiden. Someone who started off as a bit of a thorn in my side during her run as GM of the Philadelphia Reapers, but whatever you thought of her methods, she had a passion for that team that was unmatched and I was always grateful for that, whatever the result. Yes, there were times where that passion may have resulted in a few questionable methods, but ultimately the M is about getting people interested and then letting them blossom into good solid members in the bigs, and she was always reliable for that. She's polarizing as hell, probably one of my biggest opposites in that sense (it took me some time to decide to sit down and write this because I fear for the blowback, but ultimately decided I should get something out of the situation in any case) and a lot of people are not entirely fans of hers or weren't early on especially. I've never been in that group. I respected the hustle in the Philly years while not always encouraging the things that happened, and since then, I've developed a friendship enough that I've always wanted to have her around in some capacity, even more so if she's on my team. @rjfryman may have had the winning bid in EFL to get her to come back here and create Thightrap, but it was not for lack of trying on my part (and I could have gone higher, had RJ not had the same goal as I did, which was to bring her back here in particular). She obviously has her group of close friends here, but I count myself among that number.
When the S74 draft came, I had the 4th pick. I was a bit tunnel visioning at the time, I'd convinced myself I was going to draft Blade come hell or high water. As talks wore on ahead of the draft, it became clear 4th would not in fact be high enough, and so I began to try to move up. Ultimately this was futile, no teams were budging, and in fact I had an offer from Warsaw to move to 1st overall that was ridiculous and would have broken my team ( @.sniffuM had already committed to who he wanted with that pick and did not want to go back on his word, which is certainly respectable - the offer was something in the neighborhood of 2 1sts and 2 2nds to move up 3 spots). The fact that I actually thought about the offer for more than 10 seconds tells you all you need to know about how badly I wanted this to work. Ultimately I traded down instead, managed to land Flyers' player at 8th, and certainly came out of that draft looking much better than I would have without all those extra picks I could have given away. When a former commissioner coming off of a hall of fame player falls in your lap, it makes it much easier to accept not getting the player you wanted.
Several seasons later, I'd managed to acquire Thightrap via a trade with Seattle (and anyone who's been in the league for more than half a season knows the type of price that involves) for what at the time seemed like it would be the rest of her career. Three seasons, admittedly marred a bit by the fact that they'd be seasons of depreciation, but this was a good enough player to take the hit just fine. She was only signed for one more at the time of the trade, but surely securing an extension would not be a problem for a friend? Especially when early on she'd asked if 2 seasons would be enough value rather than 3 intending at that time to retire early, but basically just assuming as though things would be with Prague. This would be fine, right? Not remotely an issue? Right? Bueller? Bueller?
When the blade slipped in, somewhere between the 6th and 7th thoracic vertebrae, it felt numbing at first. Like a slight tickle. Once the shock wore off, there was much screaming, many tears, and a long hard talk of reconciliation, but it happened nonetheless. I was backstabbed a second time. This time, however, I'm convinced none of the blame was my own - she would tell you the same, frankly. Extension talks began plenty early, I'd sent an offer weeks ago, an offer which she says she never saw (I'm not sure if that was a glitch in the site, or if she did see it and just didn't take it, or what have you). As things got closer, a slight doubt crept into the back of my mind, but I never actually doubted this would get done. Then it didn't. She went right back to Seattle, taking my picks with her.
Then, like the first stab wasn't enough... she wanted to be removed from the discord. The claim was something about the team needing space to vent and it would be easier to be mad about it if she wasn't there. Sure, that sounds reasonable enough, but not if you know my discord. We're the type of environment where once you're a part of us, you're a part of us for good, as long as you remain in the league (unless you specifically indicate wanting to be removed, but even then that's generally been for people who have been there for a season or so). The term is not for everyone, and I don't really remember who coined it, but there's a reason people have called us the "Phamily" - you don't just stop being a Phantom just because your player has. This request, to me anyway, hurt as much if not more than her player leaving in FA. It also didn't last long. I'd initially compromised and moved her to Alumni (where she would not see the team section, where much of the chat is) but had already been talking to her in discord PM for some time at that point, and once I'd expressed just how not ok I was with that decision, she's back in. It lasted a whole 15 minutes. A body is a whole thing - you can't just cut off your arm, leave it sit out for a while, and then reattach it (unless under very specific circumstances, including a lot of ice, before @Renomitsu the doctor comes in here and corrects me). In any case, this time the fallout has actually gone much quicker, and while I'm still feeling a bit of a fresh wound, Blade and I are already back on good terms, and things are perfectly fine on that end. I'm not willing to lose a friend over a hockey sim, even if it would be easy to do so right now. Blade is a firecracker, far more impulsive than I'd ever be, but that's also a good thing. The world needs some people like that. If everyone was like me, quiet and unassuming, we'd never make any progress.
However, there is one thing that has come of this. It's arguably been some time coming now, and has been somewhat in the back of my mind, but this has, shall we say... accelerated the timeline. I will not be stabbed a third time. I like to keep my friends as friends, and not think poorly of them, even if only for an afternoon. Therefore, the current plan is that season 80 will be my final season as GM of Prague. I will remain VHLM Commissioner, the role that enables me to do more good for a wider array of people and to help fuel the league with new members who enjoy this strange and wild trip we call a league. Obviously the decision as to my replacement will come primarily from the blue team, as it has always been, but my recommendation as of this moment (and assuming I'm not talked out of the decision, which I don't see as likely) would be @Acydburn - prior to McWolf, he stood by my side as my fellow VHLM Commissioner and has now taken the same role in the VHLE. He's been Prague's "unofficially official" since day 1, and would have been my inaugural AGM instead of Zoiderberg had he not already been GM of Ottawa (coincidentally the team I'd GMed up to that point). There is no one here I'd rather see get a spot, and frankly it's been a long time coming, if the blues do in fact decide to give him the position.
2,172 words. 4 weeks of claim.