This Day in Hockey History

Aug 9, 8:21 AM

1988 - "The Trade"

The Edmonton Oilers trade Wayne Gretzky, along with Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski to the Los Angeles Kings for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, three first-round draft picks (1989, 1991, and 1993), and $15 million.

It's a trade so big that it only needs to be referred to as "the trade," one that sparked the notion that if the Great One could be dealt, no one in the National Hockey League was immune from being called upon to pack his bags and move to another city.

The deal, made at the behest of the team's financially struggling owner, Peter Pocklington, came weeks after Gretzky led the team to its fourth Stanley Cup in five years. The press conference that followed the announcement, highlighted by Gretzky's tears, became one of hockey's lasting images.

Pocklington said he regrets not giving Gretzky a chance to veto the deal.

"My mistake was not going over to him and putting my arm around him and saying 'Wayne, it's OK, pal. If you want to call it off, let's do it,'" the former owner said, via NHL.com. "That's what I should have done."

Gretzky went on to achieve great success with the Kings, although he was unable to bring a Stanley Cup to California. "It opened up a whole new door for him [Gretzky] and his wife. It did great things for everybody," Pocklington said. "It did great things for the Gretzkys, it did great things for the NHL."

In total, Gretzky played 696 games for the Oilers, and remains the club's all-time leader in goals (583), assists (1086) and total points (1669).

Birthdays

1964 - Brett Hull
1970 - Rod Brind'Amour

Feature photo courtesy of REUTERS/Gary Hershorn