WHERE WERE YOU?

Twenty three years ago today Oiler fans and the hockey world was stunned when the Edmonton Oilers traded Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings along with Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski for $15 million in cash, Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas and first rounders in 1989, 1991 and 1993. The Oilers traded the ’89 pick to the Devils, but they selected Martin Rucinsky in 1991 and Nick Stajduhar in 1993.

It was a dark day in Oilersnation.

This site was born in 2007 when the Oilers traded Ryan Smyth. Wanye was so pissed, sad, devastated and filled with tears when the Mullet left that he decided to bond his other crushed Oiler breathren by launching Oilersnation.com.

Could you imagine what little Wanye would have done in 1988 if he knew how to type or tie his shoes. Okay he still can barely tie his shoes, but I can only imagine what his twisted mind would have conjured up in the following weeks.

WHERE WERE YOU?

I was 15 and I vividly remember sitting on Darren McKenna’s couch in Beaumont watching the press conference in shock. Back then there was no Internet, twitter or cell phones, but word of his trade spread like wild fire. I was a diehard fan at the time, and I wanted to kill Peter Pocklington.

I didn’t cry, but I sure felt empty inside. We watched the presser and didn’t say a word. I think we were literally in shock. How could they trade "Wayner?"

I can honestly say that the Gretzky trade changed how I looked at sports. I still got excited in 1990 when the Oilers won the Cup, but after the Gretzky trade I don’t think I ever felt the same trust towards sports. I was young and I remember feeling so betrayed. When Mark Messier and even my all-time favourite player, Glenn Anderson, got traded I wasn’t as upset.

The Gretzky trade jaded my loyalty. I realized then that it was a business and since then I’ve never felt that the loyalty from players/teams was equal to the loyalty that fans show the players/teams.

Don’t get me wrong I love sports. The raw emotion on the ice, the unbridled passion off of it from bloggers, posters, listeners makes my life very exciting, but the fan in me died a bit that day, and I’ve never felt the same since.

Where were you when Gretz got traded? How did that trade impact you?

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Off topic abit but i was just over at the dark side(flamesnation) I read an article on what is happing here in town with the arena, that douche that wrote it is the most biased prick IMO, he talks how Katz is trying to screw us Edmontonians and how Katz would like 100mil from the Province to help pay for the arena then goes on to say how Calgary will ask for double “with less” problems because Ken King and co. “know” how to run a hockey team while asking the taxpayers to cough up double the cash we would….so really whos screwin who here? My other question to all that dont want our taxes involved with the arena is what if the EIG,god bless em for saving the Oilers from Pocklington,were still the owners of the team and this same situation came up I wonder how much they’d pony up for the new arena would it be the same amount as Katz? And no Im not slandering the EIG Im just curious.

    Back to topic

    Back when Getzky was here he had a fanclub kids could join, get an autographed pic sure it was a copied autograph but I was the happiest kid when I joined that club. I was shocked,dismayed, mad and confused when the Great One was “traded” Disliked Peter Puck ever since.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    I was in Edson that day starting to move into the apartment where I would live during my first year of teaching. I’m pretty superstitious and, after hearing about the trade on the radio and speeding back home to Edmonton down Hwy. 16 (as if I could do something about it), I became convinced that Edson had to be cursed. It was- for me at least. My one year there was absolutely brutal. The Flames winning the Cup the year I was there and the Oilers taking their 5th the year I returned home just confirmed the curse (in my mind anyway).

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    I was 17 and playing road hockey when that “deal” went down. I cursed the name of Pocklington ever since then.

    On a brighter note, I was at CFB Borden in 93, and won tix to Tor/LA game 5 at MLG. I wore my Gretzky Oilers Jersey and cheered like hell any of the LA Oilers touched the puck.

    Got a lot of dirty looks til I said I was cheering for the Oilers, not the Kings.

  • Renegade

    I was at Molson House…watching events unfold.

    This, after spending a significant part of the preceding 24 hours threatening to fire Rod Phillips and Al McCann because they refused to cover a story that they didn’t believe could be true.

    We had received a tip the day before the trade indicating it was going down.

    For the record, Terry Jones actually broke the story but CFRN radio made it public hours before the Edmonton Sun published.

  • Dutchscooter

    Funny enough, I was in Calgary coming home from a family vacation in the USA. We stopped for gas, and I vividly remember the attendant at the station saying ‘Hey, you guys are from Edmonton? They just traded Gretzky!’ and laughing uncontrollably like the half wit he was. My dad and I said ‘Sure, sure. Calgary sucks.’, not believing him for a second. Little did we know….

  • Renegade

    I was 18 and working for the summer at the Petro Can refineries. I was in the back of the warehouse with a couple of other guys huddled around a radio listening to 1260.(which was a no-no) I was in shock! Then the boss came walking up to us, we were totally caught of guard. Usually he would kick our asses for slacking off but I didn’t even care, Wayne was traded. I looked at Big Don as he approached ready for him to lay into us but he just stood there and listened to the radio too. We were all in disbelief. After about 10min, he turned and walked away, no one had said anything all that time. On the drive home I all I could think was WTF! Now were hooped.

  • Chris.

    This is not an exaggeration – it truly was the day Edmonton stood still. I was 23, working in my first professional job as an auditor with the Co-op Stores. Back in the ’80s, the Co-op had a prescence in Edmonton and I was driving around the various stores performing tests and checks.

    All day long, the radio wonks were talking about a trade for Gretzky, which I totally dismissed. I arrived at the Co-op gas bar in the Castledown area around 3 pm, minutes before the press conference was about to begin.

    I walked into the gas bar, and EVERYONE, customers and employees were gathered around a radio. I mentioned to one of the employees I was here to measure the petroleum. The employee glared at me and said “No f…ing way am I moving until this press conference is over!”

    So I joined the ever growing crowd around the radio. I saw numerous cars would turn off of 137th Ave, pull into parking lot, stopped and listened to conference. The city literally came to a halt.

    When the trade was formally announced, the first words uttered by from an angry Co-op employee: “I bet it was that bitch Janice that made Wayne move to LA!”

  • Jodes

    I was in Halifax, Nova Scotia for a six week Sea Cadet camp. I called home and my dad dropped the bomb on me. I was absolutely stunned.. I was almost in tears.

    I walked back to the barracks just in shock. When my fellow cadets asked what was wrong, I told them the news. They, mostly from the maritimes, just shrugged their shoulders and went “umm okay?”.

    There are very few things in Oiler history that I cannot bear to watch: Game 7 in 06 2) Ryan Smyth being dealt and still most painful, seeing Gretzky’s goodbye speach.

    Sigh..

  • I was 14 or 15 sitting in my grand parents house when the new’s broke.

    Like a lot of you, I grew up watching Gretzky. My earliest memories were sitting around the T.V watching Gretzky and the young oilers with my grandfather who was a huge Oilers fan, in fact, Gretzky was my first hero, (besides dad and grandpa) the first true person I looked up to and idolized.

    I was crushed that day, I got up walked out to the back yard so no one would see me, picked up my hockey stick and started to shoot the puck at a brick wall my grandfather put up so I wouldn’t ruin the fence and cried, to this day I think my grandfather new, he just left me alone.

    I looked at sports and hockey with a different view after that day. I’m not as bitter about the trade as I once was. I still have utter contempt for P.P, but when all said and done it worked out for everyone in the end and made hockey stronger.

    P.S-The first game Gretzky came back to play the Oilers was also the first day I realized I was an Oilers fan first!

  • Chaz

    I was 15 at the time and at a summer camp in K-Country. We didn’t find out until the next day as we were on a hike in the Rockies when it went down. Most of the counselors and other campers were Calgarians and when they found out they all went nuts as they realized they might actually have a chance to get a cup, which they did the following year. They found enjoyment in my sorrow, which is why I never feel bad celebrating when the ‘Lames are knocked out of the playoffs or don’t make them at all, and is also why I’ll never be one of those who cheers for Calgary if Edmonton is out of the playoffs just because they are from AB / Canada. My complete hatred for Calgary was cemented that day and has never ebbed.

    My Sister worked at Molson house at the time and grabbed the kleenex Gretz cried into after the presser. Not kidding. I think she threw it away later that day after she realized she had no idea what to do with it. Ha!

  • Milli

    I was walking through the mall in Calgary ( of all places) and saw it on a wall of TV’s. I didn’t jade me, must have been to young. But when Smyth got dealt, I was a mess for months.

  • Chris.

    I had a paper route and found out about the trade from the headline. I almost threw up…Untill that moment it had never occured to me that the Oilers weren’t going to just go on winning forever. That 1988 team had just went 16-2 in the playoffs for it’s fourth cup and was still the youngest team in the NHL with a median age around 24… They would have probably won another 3 or 4 cups easy. F@ck you Pocklington!

  • Renegade

    My birthday is August 11th, “The trade” happened two days before I turned 17. That was the worst birthday I ever had, and I have been to the hospital for stiches in my foot on one birthday, a broken arm on another, and a concussion after being hit by a Ford Bronco on another birthday.

    I am starting to think my birthdays suck. :o)

  • Milli

    I remember where I was… I was about 14 years old and helping my mother pick up stuff at our small town grocery store when it came over the radio by the checkout… I couldn’t believe it at first and thought that it had to be a mistake, but sure enough, the Great One was gone.

    I tried to like the players they got back in return and the Cup in 1990 helped convince me that we could do it without Gretz, but it just wasn’t the same after that…

  • ubermiguel

    Like many here, I had heard it was coming. Like all of us, I wished it wouldn’t happen. Hearing from Wayne’s mouth that it could’ve all just been a bad dream and he could’ve stayed an Oiler – that’s tough.

    Big life lesson learned that day. Toronto had been drooling over Gretzky for a decade, and Calgary was over the moon for a year (then went 15 years without winning a playoff series) but the actual outcry of 99 leaving the country was a bit self serving. The rest of Canada was seething with envy and hatred towards Edmonton and our all-time hockey club, and now all of the sudden you care?

    I cried that day in 1988. I got teary eyed during the anthem on Messier Jersey Night, knowing the Oiler Way had been lost over a few dollars mistakenly thrown at the wrong players, and not to our Stevie Wonder/Jumpin’ Joe, our franchise image and hardest worker (hard work was the fixture on the 97-06 Oilers). Both era-defining moments, and proof Oilers fans have suffered as much as they have celebrated.

    And while the on-ice picture is looking better (even exciting), I’ve never heard so much negativity about our off-ice leadership. There is something very rotten in the state of the Oilers’ affairs currently. And I am not talking about the President or GM.

    I have great empathy for the Mayor of Edmonton getting caught in the middle of this arena fiasco.

  • Milli

    Ah, good old Pocklington . A master wheeler dealer . We’d never have gotten Gretsky without his dealings in the first place . We enjoyed the time he was here , leave it at that . Too bad it wasn’t longer , but it could have been much shorter as well . I’ll take what they gave us , and relish that it happened here during his best years on the ice .

        • Your burn was old news and unimaginative. Come up with something the average Calgarian doesnt say on a daily basis while finding ways to forget their club’s bleak future and underwhelming present.

          Oilers fans living in the past? ~Ive never heard that before.~

          • Hey it fit the bill so I said it.
            That comment you directed at me had little to no affect on me. I’m a Leafs supporter if you couldn’t gather that from my name. And if the Flames fans say that about you on a daily basis it must be true. You’ve heard it time and time again because its true. And now you look to the future… weren’t you guys bragging about Cogliano and Gagne? How’d that pan out for you guys? You guys finished last 2 times in a row, you better have some good prospects to speak of! In the Flames defense, they have no problem attracting free agents (unlike deEdmonton) so they can build through free agency, like they have been doing for the last few years. Not everyone needs to tank their team to rebuild. Edmonton Oilers, model for success?…Hardly. Other teams strive and drive for the cup, your team thinks the 1st overall pick is the ultimate goal. GO Grezk… oh wait he left you guys a long time ago… get over it!!

          • positivebrontefan

            Oh, Calgary has done great attracting free agents, so good in fact that they are a less than mediocre CAP team. That is a sign of a place that does not do a good job of drafting but does a great job of attracting overpriced underachieving free agents.

            Don’t get me wrong, for a few years the Oilers could do neither and as a result finished last twice in a row…

            And the Leafs? At least we have a glorious past that some people are still young enough to remember. Recent history has the Oilers in 5 playoff series as well as the Leafs with 5 in the last ten years. We won’t talk about the last five years that would hurt for both of us…in different ways.

  • Waiting for a bus to go to summer school when a friend told me (of course I didn’t believe him until the bus driver echoed the same news). I was stunned for a week, which pretty much doomed summer school for me. Had to make up a couple of courses the summer after.

    • I was living in England at the time and my father telephoned me from Edmonton in the middle of the night to tell me. When the phone first rang (with that short double ring) and woke me, my first thoughts were: something is wrong … At one level I was relieved it was ‘only’ the news that Gretzky had been sold to Los Angeles, but the next day it sunk in what a bummer it was.

  • My Dad had season tickets back then, I was fortunate enough to see live games from 1985-90. Watching the Oil and Gretzky through my early childhood was special. I cried when pops told me what happened. Lost my love of hockey after the Moose left. Will always hate Peter puck. Found love again when Smyth was drafted. Stopped when the Oilers Turned there backs on him. Stopped watching until Hall arrived. Now I realize how special it was to see the “Boys on the Bus” do their thing. I have that passion again, listening to radio games, watching ever game I can and filling my house with the memories of the best hockey team in my lifetime. Hoping that my kids will see some resemblance of that team in the future.