GQ Sports dropped a video today that features a conversation-style interview with Connor McDavid and Wayne Gretzky. The two get asked a handful of questions, ranging from their favourite memories made in the league to being a part of the Battle of Alberta to the pressures involved with playing in Edmonton.
One part that really stands out comes towards the beginning of the conversation when Gretzky is explaining how he can understand the pressure that McDavid goes through playing in such a hockey hotbed. McDavid then asks Gretzky what it’s like to win in Edmonton and Gretzky offers a prediction for his future.
Gretzky: That’s the one thing about playing in Edmonton. A lot of cities are like that. Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg, but in Edmonton it just seems like it’s hockey, and church, and the Oilers. That’s what goes on in Edmonton. That’s a good thing when you’re winning. And when you’re not winning, it’s really hard to leave your apartment.
McDavid: What’s it like to win there?
Gretzky: Oh wow.
We were talking about this with a friend who was playing in a big city and they said that people who have season tickets go to about ten percent of the games. In Edmonton, I can look across the stands and see the same people every single night and know that so-and-so is in that corner and they’re in this corner. You knew around Christmas time that they were going to go to Hawaii or Florida or Palm Springs and somebody else would be in those seats.
But every other game, those people we there. With their wife, with their kids, and so I think the biggest difference about winning in Edmonton compared to bigger cities is that you’ve seen everybody every night, so you know they’re just as excited about it as you are and they feel as they’ve done as much to win tat Stanley Cup as you did as a player.
So when you guys do win — and you will win a Stanley Cup — the feeling is just over the top. You work your whole life to do that, because even at a young age you probably said ‘oh Connor McDavid scored the overtime winner Game 7! I got the winning goal!’ But when you actually lift the cup, it’s pretty special.
You will lift it one day, you’re too good.
Reading the exchange in text doesn’t really do it justice. You have to watch the video (the whole thing is really well done and enjoyable to watch, but this one part, in particular, is a must-watch) to see how genuinely adamant Gretzky is when he tells McDavid he’s simply too good to not win a Stanley Cup. It’s an incredible moment hearing the Great One offer such praise.