If there’s a player who’s been the face of the Washington Galaxy, it’s LW Casey Thurman. From the early days of the franchise, Thurman has been a leader in the clubhouse, whether talking to reporters after tough losses or teaming up with teammates to imitate Hershey’s singing cows. When Washington went to back-to-back SHL Finals, it was Thurman who led them there. He balances a love of locker-room lunacy with a commitment to playing hard and giving it his all, no matter what the scoreboard or the standings say.
It’s almost impossible to imagine a Galaxy team without Thurman on it. But it became easier to imagine this week, when Thurman sounded a rare downbeat note in a postgame interview and suggested for the first time that he might be open to a trade.
Thurman spoke to reporters after Thursday’s 7-1 loss to the Hershey Bliss. After the typical back-and-forth about the game, a reporter asked about the sparse attendance at the game. As the Galaxy’s on-ice results have declined the last couple of seasons, so too has turnout.
Thurman paused a bit before responding. “I’ve got to say, I miss the atmosphere in the old days,” he said. “When the house was packed and the fans were living and dying with every goal, it gave you that extra boost when you needed it. Now, the crowds are smaller and quieter. They get going when “Cosmic Thing” comes on, but then the song ends and it’s quiet again.
“Don’t get me wrong,” the winger added. “Our crowds are very nice. They don’t boo us, even when we deserve it. They don’t yell obscene chants at the other team, and they don’t fight in the stands. They’re good people, and I’m glad they come. But I miss the energy from the old days a little bit.”
Another reporter asked about trade rumors. Thurman has a no-trade clause in his contract, but GM Wilson Shuster has made clear that the team is in rebuilding mode, and no player is untouchable. Multiple teams have reportedly inquired about Thurman, who is signed through the 2022 season.
Thurman stated that Shuster had not approached him about any possible deals, and that he wasn’t in a hurry to leave. “This is my home,” said Thurman. “My family’s here. We’ve got a good young team, and I love being a mentor to those guys and helping them develop their game.”
Then, after a pause, he went on: “On the other hand, I definitely know I’m an old man in this locker room. Most of my old friends are gone: Coz [C Eddie Costello] is gone, and Bucky [D Kevin Buchanan, and [F] Gene [Kennedy], and Big O [G Roger Orion], and Lenny [D Leonard Wright], they’re all gone. And I still don’t have a ring. So if the right situation came along, where I could get that ring? I’d have to consider it.”
Thurman was then asked if there were specific teams he’d like to go to, at which point he ended the interview. But his remarks triggered speculation around the league.
Shuster said that the team was in no hurry to trade Thurman. “Obviously, Thurm has been the heart and soul of this team for a long time,” Shuster told reporters. “It would take a big return for us to move him. That said, he would be a valuable piece for a lot of contenders, and we’re looking long-term.”
Thurman tried to walk back his remarks the next day, saying that he’d “had a bad day” and was “feeling bummed out” by the loss. But any contender with the interest and the cap space to acquire Thurman will likely be calling Shuster in the coming days. Depending on how those talks turn out, we may have to get used to the idea of the face of the Galaxy suiting up for someone else.