Wayne Gretzky Trade Rumors

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Happy 50th to the Great One! He turned a year older yesterday and the NHL misses him greatly. As a player, Wayne Gretzky holds or shares 61 records. 40 for the regular season, 15 for the Stanley Cup playoffs, and 6 for the All-Star game. When asked about his 92 goal season record, Gretzky says he remembers that he only had 1 goal in his last 8 games. He feels he could have made the 100 goal mark if he did not blow it. Also, he believes his best record is 50 goals in 39 games, and believes that is the most untouchable of his records.

Gretzky won four Stanley Cups, all with the Edmonton Oilers in 1984, 1985, 1987 and 1988. He regrets leaving the Oilers because he figured he could have won many more Stanley Cups with that team, but says it was a business decision. Who made the business decision; why would anybody in their right mind trade the best player in hockey?

Peter Pocklington, the Oilers owner at the time, was solely responsible for trading Gretzky. He got three first round draft picks, but the real reason he traded Gretzky was for money. In 1988, Los Angeles Kings owner Bruce McNall offered Pocklington $18 million CDN in cash in a suit case for Gretzky. If you add on inflation, in today's terms that would be around $25 million CDN that McNall offered for Gretzky. Pocklington could not refuse the money even if it meant trading his franchise player.

In the pre-salary cap era in the NHL, players could simply be bought with money like this. Still, it seems alarming to me that McNall is carrying around that many millions in a suitcase and offering it to people. And in 1994, McNall pleaded guilty to five counts of conspiracy and fraud, and admitted to bilking six banks out of $236 million US over a ten year period. The money that bought Gretzky was "dirty money".

You can see the biggest trade in pro sports history unfold on DVD. I highly recommend every hockey fan see ESPN Films 30 for 30: King's Ransom. You will get a great behind the scenes look of what went down and it is more entertaining than a hockey game!

ESPN Films 30 for 30: King's Ransom

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