One more look back…

…at the Gretzky trade, courtesy of longtime hockey writer Elliott Teaford, who now covers the Lakers for our paper and several others. We’re glad Elliott didn’t become a hood ornament on Aug. 9, 1988.

Thanks to everyone for the feedback below. If you haven’t included yours yet, please do!


I was on a two-week driving trip in the Pacific Northwest in August of 1988. I had been to Seattle, Mount Rainer, Yakima, the Tri-Cities, Portland and one of the beach towns on the Oregon Coast (Newport? Or maybe it was Florence). Finally, I hunkered down in Eugene for a few days without driving. I went out for an early-morning run in and around a park that hugs the river that cuts through Eugene. I went for about 90 minutes or so (back in the days when I could still run that long and that far). Went back to the hotel room and went back to sleep. Didn’t look at USA Today. Didn’t turn on the television. Awoke around noon. Showered (again) and walked across the street to a McDonalds for lunch. Picked up a Big Mac and grabbed a copy of the Eugene Register-Guard, which turned out to be a day old. Flipped to the sports section as I jogged across the street. Glanced at the stories above the fold. Nothing special. Flipped over the section to see what was below the fold. Gasped. The headline read: “Gretzky traded to L.A.” I screamed: “Holy smokes” (or something like that). Stopped dead in my tracks in the middle of the intersection and was nearly smoked by an 18-wheeler, whose driver barely had time to slam on the brakes and avoid hitting me.

And that’s how Wayne Gretzky nearly got me killed.


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  • Anonymous

    In 1988, I wasn’t to much of a hockey fan, baseball and football, and yes the lakers (BACK THEN!).

    For some reason I spent a lot of time watching ESPN this summer, and they keep replaying this Standly Cup thing, and talked about how much this Gretzky guy was “The Great One”… Watching this guy do what he was doing on the ice was amazing. I don’t think I had ever watch so much hockey in such a short time. I couldn’t get enough….

    Come August when I heard about the trade…. OMG! Lets just say, I haven’t stopped loving this game, thanks to “The great one”! There will never ever be another “Gretzky”, and I’m so glad I got to watch him in person.

    Rich, this is the best site. You go way above and beyond to keep this thing going. Thank you for everything that you do for all of us.

  • Harry

    Off topic from posted subject……..but interesting read……
    (Kopi Interview)

  • Moondoggie

    How ironic….I think we all have our “Where were you when Gretzky was traded” stories.

    My wife and me were on a small boat up in the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound. The island was called Sucia, a beautiful place with a beautiful harbor & moorage. It’s right near the Canadian border and all of the radio stations were out of Vancouver. We’d just gotten back from a hike and a swim and decided to flip on the stereo for some soft tunes.

    Holy smokes!!! You’d have thought someone had died. Some of the stations were playing funeral music, some were protesting, some were declaring that action be taken by the Canadian parliament and out of all of this I heard someone say finally “Gretzky traded to LA”. I couldn’t believe it. Naturally we started scanning for more info on different radio stations (Sucia is pretty isolated) and were able to determine that he was coming to LA with McSorley & Crusher for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelanas, 3 first round draft picks (alternating years) and 15 million dollars. We were flabbergasted, excited, frustrated we had no access to TV and thrilled that LA would finally have a chance to win a Stanley Cup after so many years of frustration.

    Gretz didn’t let us down. You knew the Kings had a chance to win every game he played. It was by far the most entertaining period in Kings history and probably the greatest trade ever made…..

  • cristobal

    Moondoggie – great post and i agree with the last point. I’m younger than you and don’t know much about the kings prior to the trade, really, but i’ve never seen the kings be better than the 93 playoffs run.