The day of the trading deadline in any sport is always the most cold-hearted day of the year, when players are uprooted from their homes and sent far from their families as part of an organization's relentless pursuit of a title or a rebuild.
But on Monday, one NHL trade helped bring a family closer together, at least partially due to a handwritten letter by an 11-year-old girl.
Veteran defenseman Jordan Leopold started the 2014-2015 NHL season with the St. Louis Blues. In November, he was traded to the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets.
Now, Leopold is a Minnesota native. He played collegiately for the University of Minnesota's Golden Gophers, and his wife Jamie and their four children live in the Twin Cities area. One day in January, Jamie Leopold found a letter written by her 11-year-old daughter, Jordyn, to the coaching staff of the Minnesota Wild, urging them to make a trade for her dad.
In the letter, Jordyn Leopold said she, her mother and three siblings have been lonely without their dad around.
"It has been since November and we cannot take it anymore," she wrote. "Can you guys please, please, please ask the [Blue] jackets if you guys can get him!"
Jamie Leopold told KMSP that she never went so far as to deliver the letter to the Wild.
"I was too nervous to go to that length, even though all my friends wanted me to," she said. However, she did post it on her Facebook page, and hours before the 3 p.m. ET trade deadline Monday, the letter was circulating online.
Finally, Jordyn Leopold got her wish. In exchange for defenseman Justin Falk and a 5th round pick in this summer's draft, the Wild brought Leopold home.
Blue Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen gave a subtle stick tap to the letter's role in facilitating the trade on Twitter.
"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 and he was here alone. His family visited a few times," Kekalainen said in Columbus after the deal was done.
"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. To see that letter, it's pretty touching."
Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher saw a photo of the note, too.
''After I saw it there was a pressure to close the deal, that's for sure," Fletcher said. "I've only spoken to Jordan once this afternoon, and he's been away from his family for most of the year, and that's hard and you've certainly got to feel for him, but I know he's extremely excited to play for the Wild and to join our team. I think we're going to have a very motivated player and a very excited family, so those are two very good things to have."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.