Gretzky’s Trade to Kings Changed Hockey – and Collecting – Forever

Thirty years ago, on August 9, 1988, the biggest trade in sports was made when the Edmonton Oilers sent Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings in a multiplayer deal that included draft picks and $15 million.

It was the biggest trade in history because it proved that no one was untouchable – not even a superstar player who topped the league in scoring seven of the previous eight seasons, led his team to four championships, won 23 individual awards, held 49 league records and was on the verge of breaking many more.

Gretzky’s move to the second-largest market in North America not only accelerated the growth of hockey in the United States, it sparked the eventual explosion in popularity for hockey cards and collectibles.

Read the full article at Sports Collectors Digest

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk

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Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

3 thoughts on “Gretzky’s Trade to Kings Changed Hockey – and Collecting – Forever”

  1. It was timely for me that this happened 30 years ago in August as I spent the last week of the month reading on the beach. I spotted the book “I’d Trade Him Again: On Gretzky, Politics and the Pursuit of the Perfect Deal” which was written by three sports writers as well as Peter Pocklington. Being in Edmonton in those late 80’s years I don’t recall much of anything as I was too young, but I have heard many stories from it which definitely included that trade and the subsequent events which included mobs at his house trying to lynch him, the death threats, protests, etc. I always thought he was a bit of an arse (for lack of “stronger” words that aren’t family friendly) but this book (along with reading about the Gainers strike in school a few months ago) really shows him in another light. If his description of the teams’ financial situation (and the reluctance of the league to honour the 20 year deal for Gretz) was correct, I firmly believe that this trade had to happen in order to preserve the Oilers in Edmonton. Don’t get me wrong, I hate the thought of it to this day, but frankly, if that was the situation I found myself in as owner, I probably would have done it the same.
    Then there is the situation surrounding Gretzky going through with it and giving his blessing, even minutes before the announcement. Really makes you think about the trade differently.

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