Friday, August 9, 2013

Did you know? The Wayne Gretzky trade


Gretzky never saw his wallet again.

Today marks 25 years since the most famous trade in NHL history. On August 9, 1988, the Edmonton Oilers traded Wayne Gretzky, Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski to the LA Kings for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, three first-round picks and cash.

The deal became known simply as "The Trade", and its effects are still being felt to this day. The day still resonates with hockey fans so strongly that even now, a quarter of a century later, the anniversary is getting extensive media coverage.

But how well do you really know The Trade? Here are some lesser known facts and figures from the most famous transaction in hockey history:

  • Before the trade, every NHL trade deadline broadcast would begin with the host saying "You know what they say, folks, if Wayne Gretzky can be traded then anyone can! But of course Wayne Gretzky cannot, in fact, be traded, so…" followed by an eight-hour test pattern.

  • The main piece coming back to Edmonton in the trade never did produce the sort of offensive numbers that fans had been hoping for, although in fairness it's hard to score goals when you are a giant bag full of money.

  • Everyone who has ever asked you if you remember where you were the day Gretzky was traded didn't remotely care about your answer, and was just waiting for you to stop talking so they could tell you their own boring story.

  • The ultra-exclusive "Players Who Were Once Traded for Wayne Gretzky Club" was created on that day, but shut its doors permanently years later when Roman Vopat showed up.

  • In addition to Los Angeles, Gretzky was also offered to both Detroit and Vancouver, but balked at the latter option when it became clear that they mainly just wanted him to ride around in the back of a pickup truck holding a torch and looking annoyed.

  • Gretzky insisted that any trade also include his good friend Mike Krushelnyski, or "Krusher" as his teammates called him, as well as Marty McSorley, or "Ol' Super Curvy Stick Although I'm Sure That Won't End Up Being Important".

  • Whenever anyone would ask Bruce McNall if he felt like the trade was so lopsided that he'd ripped off the Oilers in a massive fraud, he'd shift awkwardly in his chair and mutter "No, that feels slightly different".

  • Oilers coach and GM Glen Sather originally threatened to resign rather than be a part of a deal that he fundamentally wanted no part of, presumably because he wasn't sure how to eventually give it a buyout.

  • Devastated Edmonton fans consoled themselves that at least Gretzky wasn’t traded to Calgary, because lord knows no self-respecting Oilers star would ever be caught dead wearing a Flames jersey.

  • At the time of the trade, Janet Jones was already pregnant with Paulina Gretzky, which I don't have a joke for but am including just so I can add "SEO guru" to my resume.

  • Gretzky was so fundamental in helping the NHL become successful in the southern US that to this day the league owes him a debt they can never hope to repay, or at least we assume that's why Gary Bettman's office is filled with photos of Gretzky with "I.O.U." scrawled on them.

  • News of the trade blindsided Gretzky, which would explain why news of the trade was then punched repeatedly in the face by Dave Semenko.

  • Everyone remembers the way Gretzky's emotional farewell press conference brought tears to the eyes of those in the room, except for Kerry Fraser, who has no recollection of Gretzky ever causing fluid to leak out of anyone's face.

  • Experts at the time of the deal insisted that hockey fans would never see anything like it again, and they were right, assuming that by "it" they meant "anything even vaguely interesting happening in August".


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13 comments:

  1. "Everyone remembers the way Gretzky's emotional farewell press conference brought tears to the eyes of those in the room, except for Kerry Fraser, who has no recollection of Gretzky ever causing fluid to leak out of anyone's face"

    Still bitter Sean? ;)

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    Replies
    1. every leaf fan is and will always be bitter about that moment

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    2. I knew there would be a joke in this post on that hahaha

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  2. Was getting worried! Almost done a Gretzky column without a Fraser referance!

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  3. The Bruce McNall comment is pure gold. Well done, again.

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  4. "Detroit and Vancouver, but balked at the latter option when it became clear that they mainly just wanted him to ride around in the back of a pickup truck holding a torch and looking annoyed."

    Bahaha. That was one of my favourite moments of the Olympics, watching Gretzky get chased through the streets of Vancouver by drunk kids in the rain. Good times.

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  5. "You know what they say, folks, if Wayne Gretzky can be traded than anyone can! 

    C'mon, Sean, you're better than that.

    "You know what they say, folks: if Wayne Gretzky can be traded, then anyone can!


    Otherwise, keep up the great work.

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  6. A little known fact about the trade is that the night before the trade Wayne was staying in LA at Alan Thicke's house baby sitting his son Robin. Wayne could be heard on the phone with McNall repeating ``You know you want me!`` which everyone found annoying...except for Robin Thicke apparently...

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  7. Try as I might, I don't get the joke about no self-respecting Oilers' star wearing a Flames jersey. All I can think of is Grant Fuhr, but if that's the reference I'm not even sure it really qualifies as a joke.

    What am I missing?

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    Replies
    1. http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/08/08/the-scariest-movie-any-edmonton-oilers-fan-will-see-jordan-eberle-as-a-flame/

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  8. "Ol' super curvy stick"

    watchout!!

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  9. Wide Right, No Goal, Forward Pass, No Goal 2. Welcome to Buffalo!August 29, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    Marty McSorley?!?!?! I've been watching hockey for most of my life and I've never heard of a hockey player with that name!!! I'm familiar with a baseball player with that name, however...

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