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NHL trade deadline: a daughter’s wish comes true

Ryan Denison is the Senior Fellow for Theology at Denison Forum, where he contributes writing and research to many of the ministry’s productions.

He is in the final stages of earning his PhD in church history at BH Carroll Theological Institute after having earned his MDiv at Truett Seminary. Ryan has also taught at BH Carroll and Dallas Baptist University.

He and his wife, Candice, live in East Texas and have two children.

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Minnesota Wild defenseman Jordan Leopold's 11 year-old daughter Jordyn talks during an interview in the locker room after her dad's first game with Minnesota about the letter that she wrote to the Columbus Blue Jacket's asking them to trade her father back to Minnesota, where the Leopold grew up and where his family resides (Credit: NHL)

{source}<iframe style=”float: left; border: 1px solid #000000; background-color: #C0C0C0; padding: 2px; margin: 10px; -moz-border-radius: 3px; -khtml-border-radius: 3px; -webkit-border-radius: 3px; border-radius: 3px;” src=”http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/embed?playlist=769936&site=wild” frameborder=”0″ width=”400″ height=”247″></iframe>{/source}This past Monday marked the 2015 NHL trade deadline. While it was a relatively tame day by the NHL’s standards with “only” 24 trades (for comparison, this year’s NBA trade deadline was considered to be particularly robust with 11 trades), it was not without a few memorable stories.

For example, in a normal year Chris Stewart’s experience would be among the most memorable tales. While being interviewed on TSN’s “TradeCentre,” he was told by the show’s host that he had been traded to the Minnesota Wild. However, it was another trade by the Wild, one in which they acquired Jordan Leopold from the Columbus Blue Jackets, that has garnered the most headlines. Normally, Leopold would not attract that much attention. After all, he had already been traded once this season and had only appeared in 25 games with one goal and 2 assists.

However, the reason Leopold’s story has been so popular has little to do with his abilities as a hockey player. You see, Leopold’s family still lives in Minnesota, the state where Leopold grew up and played in college, and they missed him. His daughter, 11 year old Jordyn Leopold, even went so far as to write a very sweet and sincere letter to the Wild asking them to trade for her father. While the letter was never sent to the team, Jordyn got her wish and the letter went viral over social media and various news outlets.

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen said in response to the trade and the story about Jordyn’s letter, “He’s a great pro. We wanted to do the right thing with Jordan Leopold. That’s what we had talked about the whole time, we knew that his family was in Minnesota. There is a human side, believe it or not, to our business. I think it’s great that he can go home, join his family. I see that letter and it’s really touching.”

Kekalainen is not the only one who finds this story meaningful, as demonstrated by the response it has generated across social media and countless news outlets. Whether or not you are a fan of the Wild, the Blue Jackets, or even hockey in general, there is something about stories like Leopold’s that transcend sports. But why is that? Why is it that stories about people who we may never have heard of before or who have very little, if any, relevance to our own lives can still capture our attention and make us care?

I think it’s because God created us to love him and, through that love, to care for each other as well. When Jesus was asked to define the greatest commandment, essentially God’s primary purpose for our lives, he responded by saying that it was to love God with every part of our lives and to love our neighbors as ourselves, concluding that everything else that God has called us to do depends on that love (Matthew 22:34-40). As a result, when we read stories like Leopold’s, we care because we were created to care; it’s a primary part of God’s purpose for us.     

But why does it often take stories like this one to remind us of that calling? Every day we are given chances not only to rejoice in the blessings of others but to be a part of those blessings. Unfortunately, we let those chances pass by far too often. But one of the great things about our God is that he will never stop giving us opportunities to love others and to live out that purpose.

Every day offers new chances to fulfill that calling by caring for others. So I ask, what will you do with those chances today?