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  • Budd Bailey

A Bandits’ not-so-instant replay

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

By Budd Bailey

It was 10 years ago today that the Buffalo Bandits completed the most interesting deal in team history. That prompted perhaps the silliest sports column of my life. This is the day to recycle it.

Another phone call

The Buffalo Bandits announced Thursday that they had acquired the rights to goalie Steve Dietrich for a sixth-round 2015 draft choice from the Toronto Rock. I wonder how that conversation went …

“Terry Sanderson.”

“Hi, Terry, it’s Steve Dietrich with the Bandits. How are you doing today?”

“Kind of busy, Steve. It’s almost the trading deadline, as you know, so the phone’s ringing a lot here in Toronto. Did you guys ever finish that game with Colorado last week, ha, ha, ha?”

“Very funny. I’ve still got a few guys that won’t be suspended from that one. Look, I want to make a trade. As you know, the roster freeze is coming up on Friday, and we have only two goaltenders on our roster. So if one of them gets hurt, we’re really in trouble.”

“I’m not real anxious to help you, Steve, We are trying to beat you guys out in the division, and we need our two goalies on the roster.”

“I had something else in mind, Terry. What I want to do is make a trade with you to acquire myself.”

“What’s that? The cell phone went out for a second. You want to make a trade for Scott Self? Didn’t you just trade him to Rochester?”

“No, not Scott Self, or even Brad Self. Myself. I want to get my playing rights.”

“Well, that’s unusual. You think you can help the Bandits? Aren’t you 43 years old? Come to think of it, though, that’s younger than Dallas Eliuk or Ross Cowie. Heck, it’s younger than one of your players.”

“Don’t remind me, Terry, although sometimes I think John Tavares is ageless. Anyway, we need a third goalie in case of emergency.”

“Hmmm. This is different. Let’s see. You want to acquire a goalie who is a former Most Valuable Player of the league? A Hall of Famer? That’s going to cost you. For starters, I’d want Dhane Smith, Shawn Williams, Billy Dee Smith, and a couple of first-round picks. Do you have any left before 2020, ha, ha, ha?

“You’re hilarious, Terry. I was thinking of a couple of large coffees at Tim Hortons. It’s ‘Roll up the rim’ time, you know. You could be a big winner in the contest.”

“That’s tempting, Steve. OK, you did help us win a title back in 2010, so I guess I owe you for that. So how about just a draft choice down the road?”

“Do I have to give one up? (Sigh) All right, would a sixth-round pick in three years work for you, Terry? That way I can leave the draft a little early and start the trip home that much sooner.”

“You got a deal. Just remember, you can’t be a general manager and player at the same time. You’ll have to resign the GM job if you suit up. And I can’t wait to hear about the contract negotiations if you do have to sign yourself.”

“I know, I know. I’ll fax in the paperwork to the league, Terry. And I’ll see you in a couple of weeks in Toronto when we play each other.”

“Hopefully, you’ll be in uniform, ha, ha, ha.”


(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)

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