20 years after the Gretzky trade

 | August 9, 2008 7:16 AM

ESPN has a great article, the Residual effect from Gretzky trade still felt today.  The article also lists the other greatest trades in NHL history.

I still remember learning about the trade and being angry at Peter Pocklington, the owner of the Edmonton Oilers, for breaking up what could have been the greatest team in NHL history, definitely one of the most entertaining.  I loved how the Oilers played hockey, how I felt hockey should be played, with speed and flair and excitement.  With Gretzky on board the Oilers could have won maybe three or five more straight Stanley Cups.

What I did not realize was that the issues leading up to this trade had been brewing for several months.  Gretzky had already told Pocklington that he would be testing free agency after the upcoming season because he wanted to paid fair market value, which is reasonable.  Pocklington realized he could not afford Gretzky and told him he would need to trade him.  Gretzky said he only wanted to be traded to Detroit or LA which tied up the hands of the General Manager, Glen Sather.  And even when Glen Sather told Gretzky about the trade, as you will hear in the interview below, and said that he would block the trade if Gretzky wanted, Gretzky agreed to proceed.

When I saw Gretzky crying in the interview after the trade was announced I thought a savvy business owner had screwed over a young, naive hockey player and the fans of the Edmonton Oilers.  It turns out that Gretzky was well aware and complicit in what had happened.  It turns out it was me who was young and naive, now I’m just naive.

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