In the grand scheme of things, trading Gretzky was a good thing

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by jcbio11, Sep 28, 2011.

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  1. jcbio11

    jcbio11 Registered User

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    Statement - In the grand scheme of things, trading Gretzky was a good thing

    True or false in your opinion?

    I say it's true.

    It helped spread hockey and develop it in the USA. Now we've got three franchises in California alone, one of them with a Cup win.

    I can't see the NHL being as big as it is today if Gretzky had stayed in Edmonton.

    Ask the average American about ANY hockey player from any era ever, you'll get a blank stare. Ask about Gretzky, chances are they know him. He made the game popular.
     
  2. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    These sentences seem to contradict each other.
     
  3. jcbio11

    jcbio11 Registered User

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    You're right. My bad.

    What I meant is that Gretzky is the most famous hockey player and is fairly often recognized even by people who don't follow hockey at all or follow it very little.
     
  4. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    That's certainly true. But if he's still the only player most Americans know, then it would seem he didn't really popularize the game, just himself.
     
  5. jcbio11

    jcbio11 Registered User

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    Himself and hockey with it. I don't see the NHL being as big as it is right now had he stayed in Edmonton.
     
  6. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    NHL tickets being too expensive for the average fan to buy? gee, thanks wayne.
     
  7. Cawz

    Cawz Registered User

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    So becasue Gretzky was traded, the avergae American's knowledge of hockey players went from zero to one, and thats considered big?
     
  8. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Contradictory?. Not in the least. He helped to popularize the sport with his celebrity status thus drawing more interest in the sport. Being a role model, hero & inspiration to kids who picked up a stick instead of a bat or a ball.
     
  9. It would have risen anyway, at least in Canada.
     
  10. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Mike Barnett

    Mike Barnett - Wayne Gretzky's agent had a significant role in the transaction, negotiating the various marketing and endorsement deals.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Barnett_(ice_hockey)

    The small town Edmonton market was insufficient for Gretzky's off ice revenue goals. Toronto was considered - home to Gretzky's restaurant and short lived ownership of the Toronto Argonauts with John Candy and Bruce McNall.

    Eventually Los Angeles won.
     
  11. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Ya, Toronto was "considered" but lets face it, their was only room for one "Star" with Leafs of the 70's & 80's. He didnt actually play hockey of course but by God, no single player was going to cast a bigger shadow than Harold E. Ballard. That went for GM's & Coaches as well, Don Cherry variously being mentioned as the ideal candidate but for his flamboyance...

    According to Wiki & reports of the time of "The Trade", Wayne learned that he was being "shopped" not 2hrs after winning the Stanley Cup from his Dad. Pocklington needed dough, and unknown to GM Sather PeterPuck had been talking to the Canucks, Rangers, Wings & Kings about a Sale/Trade. Gretzky & Barnett met with McNall, okaying things provided McSorley & Krushelneski were included going south. When Sather found out, he tried to stop it altogether but when that failed, he asked for Robitaille instead of Carson coming north, which was also refused.

    Many Canadians thought Gretzky agreed to the move in order appease & further his then new wife Janets career. Fact is, the guy was/is a celebrity, was somewhat enamored with the culture of celebrity; business opportunities calling with the windows of opportunity limited in any Canadian market. Upon his arrival, the Kings, moribund & challenged at the gate for eons, shot up the charts like a bullet, boasting sell-out after sell-out after sell-out. Many credit his arrival with the explosive growth of the game in SoCal at the amateur levels around that time, along with the selection of Anaheim & San Jose' as expansion sites; an influence that extended to Dallas & Phoenix.
     
  12. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

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    I think it was good. Yes it ruined the Edmonton dynasty and got the game into cities it should never have been. Still Gretzky's trade helped make the game popular in areas of the U.S. where it had not been before growing the game to bigger heights.
     
  13. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    Not contradictory? Saying he popularized the sport in the US, while at the same time saying he was the only hockey player known in the US, seems contradictory to me, and the OP apparently agrees. If he did so much to popularize the game, then surely he would no longer be the only name known?
     
  14. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Gretzky made the sport much more popular in the United States, but "more popular" doesn't mean popular enough that players today are household names to the majority of people (other than Gretzky himself).
     
  15. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Bobby Orr

    Overlooking completely the impact of Bobby Orr. To this day 45 seasons after Bobby Orr entered the NHL his legacy still lingers in US hockey evidenced by the steady stream of quality American defensemen that are produced.

    Conversely Wayne Gretzky may have name recognition but fails the legacy test - US hockey is still looking to produce the star centers.
     
  16. SidGenoMario

    SidGenoMario Registered User

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    And this theory is backed up by... what?
     
  17. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    You may be on to something about Bobby Orr having a greater impact on the development of US players, though I don't know if I would say that US defensemen are better than US forwards anymore.

    But Wayne Gretzky easily had a bigger impact on the development of the US fanbase. And that's more what this thread has been about.

    IMO, the Miracle on Ice had a bigger impact that either player on the development of hockey in the US.
     
  18. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    His celebrity status as the best hockey player of his time, ever in the majority of opinions , transcended the game itself. People who might otherwise have never bothered with the sport started to pay attention & follow it, hopefully getting hooked. Its not a leap to expect that once they had done so, they would then have become familiar with others, hopefully been interested enough to do some research as to the games history & past greats. For many, he served as the gateway to their becoming fans in the first place & thus was instrumental in popularizing the game. The Miracle on Ice in 1980, many newer fans then following many of those players NHL careers, followed by Gretzkys' arrival in SoCal were both seminal moments for the game in the US. Both events also heralded the commencement & development of the game further at the amateur levels as well of course.
     
  19. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    I will point out that the OP did not say "more popular". It said "popular". One is relative, the other absolute. I'm saying if the game was really "popular", people would know more than just Gretzky.

    I wouldn't argue against the idea that he made the game "more popular." But that's not what the OP said.
     
  20. Eisen

    Eisen Registered User

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    What about Modano or Lafontaine?
     
  21. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Time Line

    Modano and Lafontaine were pre Gretzky in LA products. Post Gretzky in LA?
     
  22. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Performance

    Performance.

    The generation of American defensemen following Bobby Orr combined to win 6 Norris Trophies - Leetch, Langway, Chelios.

    An American forward or center has yet to win the Art Ross.

    AST honours are also skewed heavily in favour of American defensemen even though you have 6 forward slots vs 2 dmen slots.
     
  23. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Pre-Gretzky LA's first "franchise player" was of course Dionne, he along with Simmer & Taylor, "The Triple Crown Line" along with Rogie Vachon in net being the faces of the team. That handle/mantle passed on to Robitaille', who with Carson & Duchesne' enjoyed some success, but really, the franchise was in a pretty moribund state until Gretzky's arrival. Los Angeles in particular, and for obvious reasons, couldve' used the likes of a Bobby Hull to great effect right out of the box back in 67-68; and if we turn the clock back a little further, had the Rangers been respectable & won a few Cups through the 50's & 60's I think the NHL wouldve found itself a lot farther ahead but I digress... "Post Gretzky"?. Good question.
     
  24. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    i think that probably has to do with how minor hockey and development programs in the US work.

    for example, in the previous generation, we had a bunch of american centers who ranged from occasional all-star to superstar: modano, roenick, doug weight, janney, and farther back lafontaine, broten, and for a time jimmy carson.

    the fact that since the modano/roenick generation our biggest american star center is kesler probably suggests more that either the most naturally gifted players are moved on D from an early age (makes sense because they would get more icetime) or that the national development program does a better job of developing dmen than forwards. i don't think it's as easy as to suggest that it was a failure of gretzky's legacy that the best US players haven't played center, or presumably chose not to play center and instead defense or some other position.
     
  25. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    the other thing gretzky brought to LA was instant respectability. larry robinson and john tonelli, guys with enough rings to between them to fill two fists, signed with the kings as free agents to play with wayne. and of course old buddy jari kurri, another five cupper, returned from europe to join the kings.
     

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