August 06, 2008
The 20th anniversary celebration/painful recollection of Wayne Gretzky's trade to the Los Angeles Kings rolls on this week. Sportsnet has a nice collection of press reactions from the time of the trade, filled with sports prose like "it wasn't the Canadian heart that was torn, it was the Canadian psyche that was ripped by an uppercut to the paranoia." Whoa.
But that's the impact the Gretzky Trade had because that's the impact Gretzky had on the culture, and in many ways still does. Like, for example, the way his name has popped up on Chris Rock's nostalgic CW sitcom "Everybody Hates Chris." This first clip is a rather classic moment in which young Drew gets a special gift: A hockey jersey that puts "Maklin" to shame.
The following clip is from a well-received episode that featured Willie O'Ree and other NHL alumni. In it, Chris and Drew head out to snag Gretzky's autograph on Long Island, and face some good old fashioned racial tension-undermined-by-comedy on the subway. The "Gritzky" punchline comes full circle.