It was Aug 9th, 1988…30 years ago. It was a trade that shocked NHL fans. It was a trade that changed the NHL. Wayne Gretzky traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Las Angeles Kings.
As I write this blog…it is 30 years to the day. I remember where I was when the trade was announced. I was working at CKDO in Truro, Nova Scotia and I included that trade announcement in my sports, At that station, I not only played the music but also read my own news and sports.
Little did we all know at the time just how much of an impact that trade would have on the success of the NHL in some of the “non hockey” U.S. cities.
When Wayne went to L.A. the popularity of the NHL in that city went through the roof.
On the other side of the coin it was devastating news for Oilers fans. The Edmonton Oilers’ office phone lines lit up with callers complaining — many blaming Gretzky’s new wife Janet (many feeling she was pushing for the move from Edmonton) and team owner Peter Pocklington’s greed for the trade. For many Edmonton fans it was a sale…not a trade.
One of the most memorable quotes from the Wayne Gretzky trade press conference is the line “I promised Mess I wouldn’t do this”
(For those that don’t know…Mess refers to his Oilers teammate and good friend Mark Messier)
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