For the 2nd installment of the 30 for 30 reaction pieces, we’re going all the way back to the original doc King’s Ransom. King’s Ransom documents Wayne Gretzky’s trade from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings.
I will admit that I have not been a fan of hockey my whole life. Sure, I knew who the Blackhawks were because my best friend at the time was a huge fan and when he passed away casually following the team brought me closer to him.
I didn’t become a Blackhawks fan until the lockout of 2012 and I attended an Icehogs game, their American Hockey League team and I fell in love as one does when they attend a hockey game live. I will admit that watching a hockey game live is the best way to watch a hockey game.
Yes, I knew who the Great One was, I hadn’t been living under a rock.
But still I couldn’t wait to watch this film because I wanted to learn everything I could about the greatest hockey player to ever play and boy was I not disappointed. Also FYI, if you are a HUGE hockey fan it’s worth checking out Joe Buck’s Undeniable with Wayne Gretzky it’s great.
Anyway, I wasn’t shocked when the film started to hear that Gretzky was drafted to play for a Canadian team. I thought for sure that Canada would want to keep their National Treasure in the homeland to help the Canadian teams dominate in hockey. But Hockey was a different animal back then, the Blackhawks weren’t the dynamic team they are now and Canada’s teams actually made the playoffs consistently. But still Gretzky helped the Oilers win 4 Stanley Cups, so seeing him on the trading blocks is insane.
His press conference brought tears to my eyes a bit because how could you not feel the sadness? It’s like leaving home for the first time, it’s exciting but sad at the same time. He had spent his entire career as an Oiler at the point and to have to say goodbye to not only your teammates but the fans is hard. Thinking about how many Stanley Cups he could’ve won if had stayed with the Oilers.
The fans reaction makes fans reaction to LeBron going to Miami look like Child’s play. But yet again Canadians are crazy about hockey and Pocklington gave away Canada’s prized players and then called Gretzky a cry-baby. And yes let’s blame Janet for the trade as if she had anything to do with Pocklington making the deal with the Kings…it’s always the wife’s fault right?
But if you think about it Gretzky’s trade to Los Angeles might have been the catalyst to make hockey popular in the United States. At most his trade helped make hockey relevant in Los Angeles. Could you imagine what hockey would be like in the United States if Gretzky hadn’t come to LA?
I think that the Kings Ransom was well paid and I think Gretzky coming to LA might just have been the best thing to happen to the sport of hockey. If the Great One hadn’t come to LA hockey might not be nearly as popular as it is today, or it might have taken a lot longer for hockey to reach the popularity it has today.
Since the trade the NHL has expanded from 21 teams to 30 and three of them reside in California, so you tell me was the ransom well paid?