“He Didn’t Want That to Happen”: NHL GOAT Wayne Gretzky Once Revealed the Biggest Reason Behind His Infamous Trade to Los Angeles Kings

Published 11/28/2022, 12:30 PM EST

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Wayne Gretzky is one of the greatest ice hockey players of all time. Having played for over two decades in the NHL while being at the top of the game is no easy feat. But the Canadian ice hockey legend did it in style. Even after decades of his retirement, the sport of ice hockey is yet to find someone as good as Gretzky.

Although Gretzky came from a remote place in Ontario, due to his game, he soon became a household name in Canada and the US. Gretzky’s shining career started at Edmonton Oilers. But much to his displeasure, the team owners traded him off to the Los Angeles Kings.


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Wayne Gretzky and the story behind his controversial trade

After his first official signing with Edmonton Oilers, Gretzky helped the team claim their fourth Stanley Cup Championships in just five seasons. However, in 1988, the Oilers shocked the NHL world after they announced the trade of Gretzky to rivals the Los Angeles Kings.

According to many reports, “The Great One” never wanted to leave the Oilers. Once in 2016, during an interview with Graham Bensinger, Gretzky confessed he never wanted to leave the team. And he reasoned with the-then Oilers owner Peter Pocklington for the same.

Looking at it from a business point of view, Gretzky said, “He looked at me as one of the 20 players. I understood that now. At that time, I didn’t understand it. You know business is business.” However, on several occasions, Pocklington had claimed that the NHL legend wanted to leave the club and join the Kings.

But during the interview, Gretzky confessed he had never thought about leaving the Oilers. “Obviously the reason that I got traded, I wouldn’t sign an extension. And it wasn’t that I wouldn’t sign, it was more on basis of look, ‘Let me play the year out and at the end of the year whatever fair micro value is, I don’t want to go anywhere quite frankly,’ and from his side of things, he didn’t want that to happen,” revealed the NHL GOAT.

Even after 21 years, NHL fans debate about this infamous trade and wonder whom to blame for such a situation.

Gretzky’s stint with the Kings


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Soon after joining the Los Angeles Kings in 1988, Gretzky was named the team’s alternate captain. Gretzky’s singing was the peak for the Kings as they had their best start ever, winning four straight games and easily qualifying for the playoffs.

However, the cherry on the top was when Gretzky spearheaded his team to an epic series win against his old Edmonton Oilers team in a Stanley Cup. During his time with the Kings, Gretzky broke Gordie Howe’s 14-year-long NHL record to become the leading goal scorer in history.


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As years passed by, the legend created and broke several other records in the following years. Finally, in 1996, Gretzky requested a trade from the Kings and joined the St. Louis Blues for the next season.



Soumya Bontra

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Soumya Bontra is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. She has been working as a sports journalist and writer for the past two years. Soumya has a Bachelor’s in Mass Media.

Edited By: Abhishek Kumar