Aug. 9 marked the 24th anniversary of the blockbuster trade that sent Wayne Gretzky from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings.
For Canadians – and hockey fans in general – it was a Where Were You When …? moment.
It you don’t remember all the details of the trade, the Great One went to L.A. along with his bodyguard Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski in exchange for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, the Kings’ first-round draft picks in 1988, 1989, 1991 and 1993; and $15 million.
“I decided that for the benefit of Wayne Gretzky, my new wife (Janet Jones) and our expected child (Paulina) in the new year, it would be beneficial for everyone involved to let me play in Los Angeles,” an emotional and teary-eyed Gretzky said at a news conference following the trade.
“I’m disappointed in having to leave Edmonton. I truly admire all the fans and respect everyone over the years.”
It was a day that changed hockey forever.
The trade came less than three months after the Oilers had won the Stanley Cup. The Canadiens had finished that 1987-88 season with the best record in the Prince of Wales Conference (45-22-13), but lost to the Boston Bruins in five games in the Adams Division final. The Oilers swept the Bruins in the Stanley Cup final and won the Cup again two years later without Gretzky. They haven’t won another one since.
To mark the 24th anniversary of the trade, NHL.com looks at 24 records The Great One set that will probably never be broken. For that list of records, click here.
To read a column that Michael Farber wrote for The Gazette the day after the trade, click here.
(Postmedia News file photo)