On Monday night, Johnny Gaudreau experienced the awkward feeling of reuniting with an ex when the Columbus Blue Jackets faced the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

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After spending nine seasons with the Flames, his first NHL team, Gaudreau left for the Blue Jackets despite an eight-year offer from his old team at an average annual cost of over $10 million a year. The loyal Flames let him hear it in his first return game, booing him relentlessly when he first touched the puck and cheering when he missed a penalty in the first period. Teammates really tried to prepare him for this by booing him during pre-game warm-ups.

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If we included every controversial homecoming sport, this article would go on longer than the aforementioned awkward encounter with your ex. So instead, we’ll just treat you to some of the most memorable from over the years.


LeBron James in Cleveland 2010

LeBron James went from celebrated hero to derided villain faster than the Game of Thrones writers.

The atmosphere was nothing short of combative when LeBron James returned to Cleveland for the first time as a member of the Miami Heat. The feelings of betrayal, disappointment, and causticity directed at him were palpable in the arena—and in the city as a whole.

LeBron wasn’t just the most popular sports figure in town, he was one of them. Thus, his departure to South Beach brought another level of misery to a championship-starved city whose hopes and dreams rested on his shoulders.

The Akron Kid was booed and cursed by former fans. Some of them threw things (including drinks and batteries); others held up signs with things like Quit, Witness to No Championship, and the more straightforward I Hate LeBron. According to the team, four fans were kicked out that night and one was arrested.

King James managed to overcome the hostility and score 38 points en route to winning the Heat 118-90.

Spoiler: In 2016, LeBron returned Cleveland’s love with the hard-earned Larry O’Brien trophy.


Jack Achel in Las Vegas 2022

Eichel, a Vegas Golden Knights forward and former captain of the Buffalo Sabers, was traded last November. He scored zero in a 3-1 loss to Vegas at the KeyBank Center last March, while boos were showered on him by former fans.

The return trip was a little different, except for the same hoarse chorus of hoots.

Eichel scored a hat-trick in the Golden Knights’ 7–4 win over the Sabers. This extended Vegas’ winning streak to nine games. This time, Eichel seemed to be enjoying the heel play.

“I guess last year I didn’t know what to expect,” Eichel said after the game. “I had an emotional connection – and still have – with this city and these people. I came this year knowing what I would get and what kind of reception. I was just trying to use the energy.”


Bryce Harper in Washington DC 2019

From favored son to public enemy No. 1, Bryce Harper, who left the Washington Nationals to sign a record-breaking 13-year, $330 million contract with his Eastern National League rival Philadelphia Phillies in February 2019, hasn’t received exceptionally lukewarm reviews. Welcome when he first returned to the National Park.

Fans showered him with laughter during a pre-game tribute video and then cheered loudly when ace Max Scherzer punched him in his first fight. The yelling did not sit well with Harper, as he called out the fans after the game, saying they had “crossed a line”.

Some argue that this reception was petty, as Harper simply went to the highest bidder; others will say that loyalty must mean something.

Let’s put it this way: The Nationals won the World Series the season after he left.


Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City 2017

Golden State Warriors – Oklahoma City Thunder: A game to live in the shame of the NBA. No departure has caused such a stir in the Association since King James was persecuted for the “Decision”.

You didn’t have to spend much time at OKC to see how much Kevin Durant meant to the city – this guy even had a restaurant named after him (the establishment closed after he left, but has since reopened under a different name). title and topic).

Subsequently, the meeting received by KD was far from friendly. During the warm-up, when he was introduced and whenever he touched the ball offensively, there were deafening cheers. There were also cupcake signs – so many cupcake signs. Not to mention one fan dressed up like a real cupcake.

To make matters worse, there was a messy divorce from his former teammate and friend Russell Westbrook that added another layer of animosity. Throughout the game, relations between the former duos escalated, with the two exchanging words several times. At one point during the game, Westbrook could be seen yelling “I’m coming!”

However, Durant had the last laugh as he dropped 34 points and grabbed nine rebounds as the Warriors went on to a dominant 130–114 victory. After the game, he commented on the constant booing, saying, “I really thought it would be a little louder, but it was fun.”


Deion Sanders in Atlanta, 1994

Deion Sanders, who played for the Atlanta Falcons for five years, left town in a rage after signing with the San Francisco 49ers. There was more ill will after his departure as Falcons players claimed that he demanded preferential treatment. They also said that “Prime Time” actually meant “Part Time” because Sanders split time between the Atlanta Braves and the Falcons.

This steamy homecoming tale was a little different: Instead of enduring relentless ridicule during his return to the Georgia Dome, Sanders taunted Falcon loyalists.

That’s right, Prime Time turned the script upside down. He put on a show. It wasn’t enough for him to make the last 40 yards into the end zone on a 93-yard interception return, he decided to turn sideways and grin broadly at Atlanta’s bench for good measure.

The more they booed, the more he prospered (and danced).

The 49ers won 42-3.


Johnny Damon in Boston, 2006

Everything is fair in love and baseball, except that he left the Boston Red Sox for the New York Yankees. You really just can’t do it. We mean, you can, but you’ll get a public reprimand for it.

One of the hottest sports rivalries is not to be trifled with, ask Johnny Damon about it. The former Boston star was given some leniency due to his involvement in bringing the Sox a World Series title, but fans were still pretty vicious about his return to Fenway Park.

Many of them chose to throw fake and real dollar bills onto the center warning walkway when he took the field as an ode to his exit – he left to sign a four-year contract with New York City that was worth $12 million more than what he had. what Boston suggested.

Damon received further criticism for joining the Yankees in December 2005, after vowing earlier that year that “I don’t have the opportunity to play for the Yankees, but I know they’re going to harass me a lot.” . It’s definitely not the most important thing. go there for the maximum dollar that the Yankees will offer me. It’s not what I need.”


Jaromir Jagr in Pittsburgh 2001

Jaromir Jagr won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins but did not see a viable future as a Penguin, leaving a bitter taste in the mouth of many Penguins fans. Moreover, the way he walked away from the franchise (by asking for a trade twice) caused a flurry of excitement whenever he touched the puck while visiting the Mellon Arena.

In the 2000/01 season, Jagr experienced a slight decline. That, combined with his rocky relationship with then head coach Ivan Glinka, the return of Mario Lemieux from retirement, and the Penguins’ inability to pay Jagr big money, would probably be reason enough for both sides to move on. But before being traded to the Washington Capitals in 2001, he famously declared“I feel like I’m dying alive. … I don’t feel comfortable here right now. It’s not the same for me right now. We’ll see what happens. Maybe I’m going to think hard about retiring soon.”

While his threat to retire at age 28 was empty, it did not bode well for his relationship with the Penguins organization or its fan base.


Alex Rodriguez in Seattle, 2001

Is it always about money in baseball? It was a rhetorical question.

As with Bryce Harper and Johnny Damon, Alex Rodriguez’s departure from Seattle was about getting paid. Rodriguez, who was considered the best player in the game at the time, waived the Seattle Mariners in favor of a 10-year, $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers during the off-season. At the time, it was the most lucrative contract in the history of the sport.

Fans didn’t hesitate to express their dissatisfaction when Rodriguez stepped out at bat for the first time as a ranger. The noise at Safeco Field was deafening and insistent.

The game ended with the victory of the Mariners with a score of 9:7.


Vince Carter in Toronto, 2005

Vince Carter’s relationship with Toronto has been a difficult one over the years. On December 17, 2004, the former Raptors player was traded to the New Jersey Nets amid reports that he was unhappy with Toronto’s upper management. There were also rumors that he stopped giving all the best …