Friday, November 25, 2011

"The Great One" back on the ice AGAIN???

SUMMARY: In what would have been a sight for sore eyes, and a chance for another generation of hockey enthusiasts to see perhaps the greatest player to have EVER LIVED the NHL and NY Rangers owner Glen Sather contacted Wayne Gretzky to ask him to play in the 2012 "Winter Classic"- Alumni Game, which will be held December 31 in Philadelphia.

It had been reported that Gretzky already had plans with his family but until now it was still under consideration, at least in the prayers of many, there was HOPE! I personally was young when he was still on the ice and didn't follow hockey at that point, I was hoping I could see just how graceful "THE GREAT ONE" was, even years past his prime many think he could still hang with the guys on the ice instead of making personnel moves about those guys which he had been doing in Phoenix for the Coyotes the past few years.

As of today the Coyotes owe between $8 and $9 million dollars of his contract with the team when he was fired in 2010. They have continued to default on that obligation and mediation talks with Coyotes team owner Jerry Moyes last Tuesday with the NHL who has a lawsuit pending that was filed in March 2010. Sources told that those talks have not gone smoothly so they may have their day in court, who knows?

MY TAKE: Growing up around sports my whole life I heard thousands and thousands of stories of the men who played the game the "right" way, guys who were "tougher then anyone playing today", guys who didn't need half the protection that players have now, and that was for all sports. Look at baseball, football, and hockey for instance. Over the last 40 years there have been astronomical changes in both the rules/game and in the equipment both mandatory and optional.

I have a framed photo hanging right next to me in my office that was signed by Bobby Hull and Gordie Howe, in it both going for a loose puck. They don't have those leather helmets you see in the old black and white football games, not even the half shell helmets, THEY ARE NOT WEARING ANYTHING BUT THE HAIR ON TOP OF THE HEAD. Just think about that for a minute, these guys played 20 years in the league, taking and giving a beating night in and night out. Just playing in that many professional games would compound the wear and tear on your body, joints, ect many times over but add in the fights, checks, and it's even more incredible. These men had careers just like gretzky, careers that spanned decade after decade.

It's a tribute to each of them to be considered one of the greatest to ever skate but to many Gretzky was just at a different level because of his uncanny ability to score, and score in bunches. I can still remember today a time I was looking through some hockey cards but I didn't really know who was good and who was bad so I'd just go by their points totals and keep the ones that had over 40 points or something. I had to read the card about 5 times when I scanned Gretzky's. I couldn't believe it said over 100. Out of the 30 packs I opened I had NEVER seen that. I ran upstairs to show my dad the misprint I found thinking it would be a valuable collectible and it was. Only it was a valuable collectible for a different reason, because that was my introduction to who "The Great One" was!

All in all I just really think it would have been cool to get to see the man that really reinvented hockey in the US skate again. I have several signed jerseys of Gretzkys and a few framed photos signed too and seeing that game would have been just another step in my admiration of "The Great One".

+Joshua Hastings