Leopold dealt after daughter's letter

ByKatie Strang ESPN logo
Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The NHL trade deadline is often fraught with nerves and anxiety, with players constantly checking their phones and scouring Twitter for news about where they might end up.

It can be an abrupt way for a player to learn how cold and unforgiving the business side of the game can be. But it's not always as brutal and heartless as it seems.

In the waning hours before Monday's 3 p.m. deadline, news surfaced that veteran defenseman Jordan Leopold, a Golden Valley, Minnesota, native and former University of Minnesota standout, had been traded to his hometown Minnesota Wild from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

But wait -- the story gets better.

Not long after the trade broke, a letter from Leopold's 11-year-old daughter, Jordyn, went viral on Twitter. Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen tweeted out a photo of the letter and wrote, "It isn't always just about business..."

In the letter, which Leopold's wife, Jamie, said Monday that she found on the counter at their home after her daughter left for school one day, Jordyn addresses the Wild coaching staff and pleads for her dad to come home and rejoin the Leopold family.

"My dad is very lonly [sic] without his family," she wrote. "We are living in Minnesota right now and I am lost without my dad, and so is my Mom, my 2 sisters, and my brother."

Young Jordyn also goes on to explain that her father is lonely on the Blue Jackets because he is playing on "a team with young guys."

Then, Jordyn got down to business:

"Well to get to the point the Wild have not been winning games and you lovly [sic] coaches are most likely mad about that but your team needs more D men so can you please, please, please ask the Jackets if you guys can get him!"

Jamie Leopold told Twin Cities radio station KFAN she "just started bawling'' after she read it and then posted it on her Facebook page a couple of months ago.

"It's been a long couple months, but we're really excited."

The Wild said they never received the letter, but it was sent to KFAN 100.3 FM.The deal was already in place before the letter was seen by either Kekalainen or Wild GM Chuck Fletcher, but both teams were aware that Leopold wanted to come home to Minnesota.

Fletcher said on a conference call Monday with reporters that he found the letter "tremendous."

"It was pretty powerful," Fletcher said. "We're excited for Jordan."

Leopold was acquired Monday for defenseman Justin Falk and a fifth-round pick.

According to KFAN 100.3, the letter was written in January and wasreceived by the station's programming director on Monday. Radio host PaulAllen read the note on air three separate times in hopes of getting the word out that Leopold wanted to return home to Minnesota.

"It really tugged on my heart strings," Allen told ESPN.com when reached by phone Monday afternoon. "I don't care how hard you follow the Minnesota Wild or how steely you are about your business decisions, it's the right thing to do to bring this man back to his family and give this team some blue-line depth."

Leopold, 34, has one goal and three points in 18 games this season for the Blue Jackets. He was traded to Columbus from St. Louis earlier this season.