Everything Sportsnet’s Luke Fox relates is true here:
Happy 60th to my boyhood hero, Wayne Gretzky.
Gretzky takes us back to 1988, when the Edmonton Oilers told him to pick his trade destination. Red Wings fans: Blame Walter…
“I sort of narrowed it down to the New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings and L.A. Kings. People always thought that I came to L.A. because my wife Janet said, ‘OK, you should play in L.A.’ The reality was, my wife and I were really set and sort of had our mind that we were going to go to Detroit, because I grew up a huge Gordie Howe fan, it was close to my hometown, and it’s a great sports city,” Gretzky says in the previously unreleased interview.
The Red Wings reportedly tabled a trade package of Adam Oates, Petr Klima and Joe Murphy, plus picks and cash. Think of the alternate hockey universe that would’ve created — or how slow the growth of sunbelt hockey would’ve been had Gretzky not gone to the beach.
“It was my dad who actually said, ‘You should do something really unique. You should go to L.A.’ And I remember thinking, Wow, OK. So, I chose L.A. We were 20th out of 21 teams the year before; they were second-to-last in the league. It wasn’t a very good team,” Gretzky recalls.