09 August 2006


Eighteen years ago today, I had my heart broken for the first time. The culprit? One Mr. Wayne Gretzky. I remember crouching in front of the TV as a tiny fangirl when the news broke, watching in awe as one of my hockey heroes broke down in tears at the press conference. "If he's so sad," I remember thinking, "Why is he leaving?" I was too small to comprehend that Gretz had been traded for a pile of cash, and I couldn't understand why he would want to quit on my beloved Oilers. Then I heard my dad mention Pocklington and his debts, and I lost a little bit of my innocence.

Over the following season I lashed out at the man who had sold Gretzky, but I also (more irrationally) lashed out at the team that had bought him. Every time the Great One scored on the Oil, my hatred toward the LA Kings grew -- Eventually, I was so consumed with ire toward the team with the shiny silver and black jerseys that the sight of Hrudey's ugly do-rag hanging out of the back of his helmet would make me need to punch something. Usually my brother.

Gradually, my anger waned (aided by the Oilers' cup win in '90), but I still actively cheer against the Kings if I happen to catch one of their games. Silly, I know. A year or two following the trade, I came face-to-face with Gretzky after a Kings-Oilers game at the Northlands. He signed my brother's hockey card and I peered up at him, wondering what my Oilers would be like if he were still a part of them. It doesn't matter; I still love them, I concluded, achieving closure.

If the Gretzky trade were a person, he'd be all growed up and legally able to smoke, drink and vote today. It amazes me that I am still so in love with this team after all this time. Not only that, but I think I'm more excited this year than I have ever been for the start of the hockey season. Goilers, indeed.


Julian said...

Yeah, i remember that talk. I was seven. My dad took me aside and said "I have some bad news...." I remember asking why he just didn't refuse to play for anyone but Edmonton, and my dad said he wouldnt' be allowed to play at all then. I figured it was good that he at least played somewhere then.

Scarlett said...

Oooh the horrible memories of that hot August day. I too remember sitting in front of the tv, with a few tears (okay thousands) rolling down my face. I then went on a fifteen-year hate of Gretzky, believing the media hype that he wanted out of Edmonton and his wife was to blame. Her so-called career drew him to LA. I also have never gotten over my hate for the Kings and yes yes yes, that damn rag of Kelly's. At least he's cleaned up nicely on CBC. Or Barry Melrose and his mullett: argh I hated him too.

Bring on October, I'm so excited for hockey!!!

D. said...

Oh, how I remember that day. I was stunned, shocked. It couldn't be for real, could it? I was listening to a call-in radio show in the car while the rest of my family went in to visit my grandparents! Ha ha, yes, Scarlett, it really was a hot day but I didn't care how hot I got while sitting in the car. I just needed to be alone to absorb the sad news.

I immediately hated the Kings, but couldn't hate Gretzky. Instead, I hated Hrudey and his blue sweat band. I wondered why he wore it. To be cool? To keep his hair back? But wouldn't his helmet take care of his locks? Later a CBC commentator said the famous blue band was used to keep the sweat out of his contacts.

I think I also hated Robataille.

But now I like Hrudey. Like Scarlett said, he sure cleaned up nicely and I enjoy his CBC segments. Better than Cherry, and I like the Don! Although I must admit he is losing it these days.

I can't wait for the first Oil home game. I'll be there cheering my little heart out. How sweet it will be to witness the crushing of Calgary in person!

Loxy said...

I *heart* Kelly Hrudey.

the Prez said...

And his sexy bandana.

Jordi said...

I must admit I dont remember this happening... Oh wait! I was barely born! Ha! Okay my coolness factor dropped from minus to a further minus.

WhoreableGuy said...

I was living in Estevan, Saskatchewan when this news broke out, and what was worse was that we were moving to Edmonton later that year. But really, even the people in Estevan were in depression.

I was dissapointed that I would never get a chance to see Gretzky play for the Oilers, but I would never forget later that season the ovation Gretz got coming out during the All-Star game at Northlands Coliseum.

Anyways, to end my crappy post I will say one thing I've been saying the last few weeks here at work :

Ales Hemsky - 2006-2007 Art Ross Trophy Winner

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Hrudey's taken you guys.

Keep your hands off Mudcrutch's mancrush!

Grace said...

Way to open old wounds!!!!

I remember that day like it was yesterday. I had my whole life mapped out. As quickly as I could finish school, I was going to go to the U of A, live in Edmonton, run into Gretzky at some bistro, we'd fall madly in love and I'd bare his children who would then go on to break all his records.

Instead, that day my family put me on suicide watch and everyone kept calling to make sure I was okay.

Every year on Gretzky's birthday I take it off work because I'm quite certain it will one day be a national holiday and I'm just getting a jump on it.

My Oilcrushes now are Ethan Moreau, Ryan Smyth (if I ever have a child I'm naming him Ryan (before it was Wayne, Mark, Bill, etc.) but the past 6 years it's been Ryan.

I love this site. It's so funny to come here and read females who were just obsessed with the boys on the bus as I am!

Jordi said...

we'd fall madly in love and I'd bare his children

I wouldn't do that if I were you. Moreau's such a consistent oilcrush. People may hate Roli but Moreau always been "generally" popular. Not wildly but everyone has a soft spot for him or his skates.

Grace said...

I didn't say I'd bare Moreau's children. That comment was reserved for Wayne Gretzky. Moreau's hot, smokin' hot that he puts a very good looking ex of mine almost to shame but I have no desire to bare his child.