Wayne Gretzky has been keeping his distance from the NHL for the past four years due to a dispute over money the league owed him after the Phoenix Coyotes' bankruptcy mess. But with that mess finally settled, the Great One's exile, of sorts, is over. Last weekend, he played a role in the Dodger Stadium game, dropping the ceremonial puck.
Gretzky's return is important. Not only was the league's dispute with its greatest player an embarrassment, but it was harming his own legacy.
Case in point: the next generation appears to be horribly misinformed about him. A recent slideshow over at TeensDigest.com, titled The Most Athletic Americans, features Gretzky at number five, just between Magic Johnson at no. 6 and LeBron James at no. 4.
You can see how this is a problem. Johnson's game was was way more athletic than Gretzky's, for one thing. And for another, Gretzky's, uh, not American. And this is pretty common knowledge.
Unless Teens Digest means "the Americas" (in which case, where the Hell is Pele), we're quite certain that Gretzky is ineligible for this list. Yes, he spent some time in Los Angeles, but that doesn't automatically make you American, and thank God, because Canada would hate to lose Ryans Gosling and Reynolds.
Gretzky's from Brantford, Ontario, which is in Canada, last we checked. He was once ranked 10th on a countdown of the greatest Canadians, because he's Canadian. He lit the torch at the Vancouver Olympics. He made eight international appearances with Team Canada, during which time he scored 20 goals, 28 assists, and 48 points, all records. And then he went on to build the roster for the gold-medal winning Canadian Olympic team in 2002. In other words, he's quite Canadian, and you can't have him.
But that's only part of what makes Gretzky's inclusion on this list such a head-scratcher. If you were able to compose yourself after seeing his photo and went on to read the blurb, it only got worse. Let's break it down line by line:
Wayne Gretzky is known as possibly the greatest American hockey player of all time.
No, is it not possible. It is impossible, because Gretzky is Canadian. He can't be your president, and he can't be your greatest hockey player.
He sent a fan craze across the nation and even into Canada and other countries because he was such a talented player.
And even into Canada! Oh man, thank goodness for Gretzky, or Southern California would never have been able to share the great game with their Northern neighbors.
During his career in the NHL he scored almost 3,000 goals.
Almost. He only missed the 3000-goal mark by 2,106. Pretty close, you guys!
I think they mean points. Gretzky had 2,857 of those.
It's an honest mistake, especially if you clearly know nothing about hockey. Goals, points, what's the difference?
His skill on the ice far surpassed anyone else during his prime.
One out of four's not bad.
s/t to the Toronto Sun.
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