Ladislav Smid has patrolled the blue line in an Oilers sweater since the 2006-2007 season. He is every bit an Edmonton Oiler.
That's why it came as a shock to the defenceman when he was told he had been traded to the team's cross-provincial rivals, the Calgary Flames.
"Obviously there's mixed feelings," Smid said in a phone interview. "I just learned about an hour ago and at first I was in shock. But I had a good talk with (Craig MacTavish) and Jay Feaster and it sounds like Calgary was excited to get me and I'm also excited. I can see that Calgary is doing good and they're always working hard. I'm just excited to join their team and make them a bit better."
Smid, 27, and goaltender Olivier Roy were traded by the Oilers to the Flames in exchange for two young prospects in Roman Horak and goaltender Laurent Brossoit. He holds no hard feelings towards the organization but understands that he will miss the city of Edmonton almost as much as his teammates.
"It's hard. This was my eighth year with the Oilers and I've made a lot of friends on our team and it's hard to say bye. It's not just the team I'm going to be sad about, it's also the city. I have a lot of friends there and my wife is from there and her family is from there. I know Calgary is not very far but it's kind of weird. I've never been through this during the season and it's a weird feeling but I am really excited to be a part of the Calgary Flames now."
Smid is now heading towards the opposite end of a rivalry dubbed, 'The Battle of Alberta'. He laughed when asked how that will be to suit up against his former team in such a heated match.
"It's weird. You look at the Battle of Alberta and there's hatred for the other team but now I'm on the other side. I guess I have to change my mindset and now I am part of the Calgary Flames so I am going to enjoy the Battle of Alberta. It's always fun, the fans are always into it and now I'm with Calgary. Hopefully we can win as many Battle of Albertas as we can."
The blueliner says that over the course of his career in Edmonton, including 457 career games and 63 points (10-53-63), he has made his fair share of memories but none stand out above the rest.
"There are so many memories like my first game or my first goal and a lot of meaningful games for the Oilers. I couldn't pick one. It's been a great joy to be a part of the Oilers. It's been a fun ride, a lot of fun. I've got a lot of good memories and a lot of friendships. Hopefully I can keep a few of them. I couldn't pick just one memory."
He leaves Edmonton with this message to the fans and the team:
"I appreciate all of the support of the fans, they were incredible and some of the best fans in the NHL. It's for sure a top class organization in the NHL. They supported me throughout my career, they brought me up from when I was 20-years old and they gave me an opportunity in the NHL. I really appreciate that and will never forget it."