Skip to main content

The Night Gretzky Joined Dave King's Olympic Team

It doesn't happen too often, but remember the night that Team Canada obliterated Team Canada and Wayne Gretzky played for both sides?

No? Not too many other people do either. I asked famed Wayne Gretzky jersey collector Shawn Chaulk about it, and he had no clue!

Canada's NHL best took on Canada's Olympic hockey team in an exhibition match one night in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1987.

The match, played on August 10th, was part of Team Canada's training camp in preparation for Canada Cup '87. The night before the two teams faced off in Sydney, Nova Scotia, with the NHLers winning 7-1.

The Newfoundland game featured a first period trade. The NHL stars had built up a 9-0 lead in the opening period, thanks in part to Wayne Gretzky's goal and four assists. In order to make things a little more interesting for the sold out crowd of 4200 at Memorial Stadium, the NHLers proposed the trade


Gretzky said when the five pros joined the Olympic squad they went to the neighboring dressing room with the idea of providing leadership and encouragement.
"We're out there for similar goals," he said. "We want to win the Canada Cup and they want to win the gold medal (at the Calgary Olympics). We're not here to embarrass anyone."
So Gretzky, Paul Coffey, Brian Propp, Rick Tocchet and Brad McCrimmon switched dressing rooms. Joining the NHLers were defencemen Serge Roy and Tony Stiles and forwards Ray Cote, Claude Vilgrain and Don McLaren.
Even Gretzky could not work much magic for the Olympians. He was unable to register a point as the game ended with a score of 12-1. The only goal for the Olympians was scored by Gretzky's former Oilers teammate Randy Gregg.

Still, it must have been a dream come true for Dave King. He spent years trying to upset the mighty Russians with speedy, undersized defensive forwards who couldn't score. To suddenly have the greatest offensive player in hockey history on his side must have been a thrill, even if it was for one night only.
I have been unable to find a photo of Gretzky in an Olympian jersey. Given that this "trade" was very spur-of-the-moment I suspect Gretzky did not have his usual 99 on the jersey.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M