On August 9, 1988, the unthinkable became thinkable. It was the day when one city wept and another one awakened. When economic constraints, and the men driven mad by their shackles, could necessitate extreme sacrifice. When the seeds were planted for expansion into “non-traditional” U.S. markets for the NHL.
When every far-fetched, seemingly impossible trade imagined by a wistful fan became possible.
Because, after all, if Wayne Gretzky could be traded …
On the 25th anniversary of the Wayne Gretzky trade from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings, here are 99 facts, figures, opinions and fascinating moments from the deal that shocked the sports world. Part timeline, part oral history, it captures the build-up, the drama, the emotions and the aftermath of a trade that still has ripples in 2013.
Here are the 99 most fascinating things about the Wayne Gretzky Trade…
Material here is from various sources around the web, in print and from works like Stephen Brunt's "Gretzky's Tears" and the ESPN documentary "Kings Ransom."
1. On Aug. 9, 1988, Gretzky was traded by the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings with forward Mike Krushelnyski and defenseman Marty McSorley for center Jimmy Carson, forward Martin Gelinas, Los Angeles’ first-round picks in 1989, 1991 and 1993 as well as straight cash, homey.
2. The negotiating rights to unsigned defensemen John Miner of the Oilers and the Kings ‘ Craig Redmond were also swapped.
3. Overshadowed on Aug. 9, 1988: The first official night game at Wrigley Field. In a shocking twist, the Cubs won.
4. The cash was $15 million; adjusted for inflation, it would have been between $28-30 million in 2012.
5. According to Kings owner Bruce McNall, the $15 million was requested by Oilers owner Peter Pocklington and was the de facto centerpiece of the Gretzky Trade. “He said, ‘I want $15 million U.S. cash, and I need some players to make it look like a trade,’” according to McNall. [Brunt]
7. The 1991 pick was used on Martin Rucinsky, who played two games for Edmonton before being traded to Quebec in 1992 for Ron Tugnutt and Brad Zavisha. He went on to play 961 NHLgames and won gold for the Czechs in the 1998 Nagano Games.
8. The 1993 pick was used on defenseman Nick Stajduhar, who played two games in the NHL with the Oilers in 1995-96. He's most famous for suffering a concussion in a bar fight during his AHL days in an incident that derailed his career. OK, make that "infamous."
9. Martin Gelinas played five seasons for Edmonton before being traded to Quebec I 1993 for Scott Pearson. Of course, his NHL legacy is with that other team in Alberta.
10. Gelinas was at lunch during a break from his hockey school in Shawinigan, Que., when a stranger approached him and told him that he had been traded for Wayne Gretzky. Gelinas laughed, thinking it was a joke.
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