George McPhee didn’t learn of Dale Hunter’s decision to leave the Washington Capitals to go back to the London Knights until a 10 a.m. meeting Monday. Players learned not too long after, and the official announcement came just after noon.
Here’s a look at some reactions from various players to the news that Hunter was gone.
“I don’t know. It’s family reason. I just heard it right now. Family is always in the first position. It’s his decision. … It’s his decision so we have to live with it.”
“It kind of sucks. He brought a system that I think really worked. We played good hockey in the playoff. I think he’s been doing so many good things to this team. I really wanted to see him back here next year, but unfortunately he’s not. So it’s not good.”
“You can kind of see the situation that he’s in being away from his family. That always plays a big part in these decisions. We’d like to have him back, but it’s a decision that he made and we’re happy for him, whatever he wants to do. For us, we have to move on.”
“We understand his reasons for going back. I just had a little short chat with him and shook his hand and said thank you. I asked him if there’s anything I can do to convince him to stay. We found that out earlier today and he was great. I was sort of shocked when I found out but he’ll be missed. I really learned a lot from him and really valued the effort that he put in and I hope we see him around here again.”
“It might have been a surprise to some guys, for some guys it wasn’t. He’s got a pretty good thing going on in London and it’s like his baby. I don’t know if it was a hard decision for him or not to go back but that’s his franchise and I think he enjoys running that.”