Times Staff Writer

Gretzky trade was icebreaker for NHL

Would the NHL truly have made it in Los Angeles if Wayne Gretzky hadn’t taken the home ice? Of course, you can argue whether the Kings are making it right now, but maybe they wouldn’t even be around if Gretzky hadn’t been traded to L.A.

And it happened exactly 20 years ago today.

Yes, it has been two decades since the Edmonton Oilers celebrated winning the Stanley Cup by trading one of the greatest players in hockey history. That’s showing ‘em.


As for Gretzky, his legacy grew from fantastic hockey player to fantastic pitchman, because the Kings reached the 1993 Stanley Cup finals, the NHL learned it could expand because of its newfound popularity in the so-called Sun Belt, and nontraditional hockey markets started springing up.

There’s probably never been another NHL trade with greater impact.

Trivia time

What were the terms of the Gretzky trade?


Cover time

He’ll still be on the cover of Madden NFL ’09, but Brett Favre is in a Packers uniform and that’s not going to change.

However, EA Sports has announced that it will release a downloadable cover of Madden NFL 09, depicting Favre in a New York Jets jersey.

Money news

Sen. John McCain will spend $6 million on TV spots during the Olympics and Sen. Barack Obama is spending $5 million, according to


The top national announcing team in baseball is ESPN’s Jon Miller and Joe Morgan, according to Jim Williams of the Examiner newspapers. Williams said the worst team is TBS’ Chip Caray, Buck Martinez and Ron Darling. He lists that crew under the headline “Hit the Mute Button.”



24 Hour Fitness just signed an extension of its old deal, which was worth $10 million, to help sponsor the U.S. Olympic Committee. One question 24 Hour Fitness never has to answer: “When are you open?”

Trivia answer

Gretzky came to L.A. with Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, $15 million and first-round picks in 1989, 1991 and 1993.

And finally

CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla says he understands McDonald’s planned China-driven ads during the Olympics, which tap new market potential: “They’re not going to alienate a billion people by promoting athletes from across the ocean.”