March 31, 2016

Peter Driscoll

Peter Driscoll was a hard working, hard hitting winger. He played several seasons in the WHA before playing 60 games in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers in the early 1980s.

History will likely always remember Driscoll as a footnote. That's because the man who was nicknamed "Grenade," along with goaltender Eddie Mio, were included in the first Wayne Gretzky trade.

No, not the famous Gretzky to Hollywood trade. A decade earlier, in 1978, Gretzky was a 17 year old whiz kid who was just eight games into his big league career. He was famously signed to a rich personal services contract with the WHA's Indianapolis Racers. The only problem was the Racers were quickly floundering in the bank ledgers, and had to sell off the whiz kid.

Gretzky, Mio and Driscoll were sold to the Edmonton Oilers for a reported $850,000. The rest, as they say, is history. In Gretzky's case - much revered hockey history.

In Driscoll's case, not so much. He had a nice 1978-79 season, his fifth in the WHA. He reached the 20 goal mark for the third straight year and provided some brash grit.

When the WHA folded at the end of the season, the remaining WHA teams were absorbed by the NHL. Mio and Gretzky went on to success in the NHL. Driscoll struggled to stay in the Oilers lineup over the next two seasons, scoring just three goals and eleven points in 60 games. An eye injury didn't help, but as the Oilers stocked their lineup for their soon-to-emerge dynasty, Driscoll was increasingly the odd-man out.

After spending the 1981-82 season with Wichita in the minor leagues, Driscoll left the ice and retired.

Despite playing only eight games with the Racers, Driscoll returned to Indianapolis after hanging up his skates. He became the manager of a fitness club and coach local youth hockey.

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