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Great to see Wayne Gretzky behind with NHL as centennial ambassador

6:41 PM ET

TORONTO — Just about any Canadian child of a certain selected has a Wayne Gretzky mark memory: his 50th idea in 39 games, his initial Stanley Cup, his trade from Edmonton to Los Angeles that pennyless a country’s common heart. Somewhere, not so low in a recesses of a now-adult brains, some impulse in Gretzky’s life and some impulse in ours have been tied together like a knot.

I was 7 years aged in a summer of 1981. we went to a film with some friends. My family did not have a lot of money, though we somehow managed to get a Mr. Big chocolate bar out of a deal.

Inside a wrapper, there was a series for a contest. If Gretzky scored that same series of points a following season, we could mail in your coupling and be entered into a sketch for a fanciful prize. In my head, that esteem has turn a sum of a famous universe. It was substantially an Oilers sweater.

I non-stop my chocolate bar as delicately as Charlie Bucket, and we can design it as clearly now as we could then. In hammered blue numbers, inside a small black box: 212.

Now we need to stir on we how trusting a child we was. we believed in everything. we am 42, and we still trust in magic. we trust that a tellurian suggestion can control electricity. we trust that adore can be transmitted opposite space as certainly as a satellite signal.

But even behind then, we didn’t trust for a millisecond that a hockey actor could measure 212 points in a singular season. we tossed my Mr. Big wrapper.

Now he’s back. Bettman wasn’t bashful in his introductions. Entering this season, he said, 7,435 players have played during slightest one NHL game. “Through all a years, hockey has towering us,” he said. “One actor in sold truly was transformational, a actor who done a unfit hackneyed on a ice and who off a ice transcended hockey and transcended sport.”

How has hockey lived but such a man, and how has he lived but it?

“Listen,” a loose and well-looking Gretzky said. “I’ve always pronounced this thousands of times: It’s a biggest diversion in a world. Everything that’s happened in my life is since of a National Hockey League and a diversion of hockey. So when a commissioner called me a integrate of months ago and asked me if we wanted to be involved, we said, ‘Absolutely.'”

The 2017 Winter Classic will be in St. Louis. The All-Star Game will be in Los Angeles. Given his tie to those cities, Gretzky substantially would have been during those events anyway. But to have him there in an central capacity, a face of a diversion once again, seems like a compulsory correction. “It’s a good disturb for me,” he said.

For us too. Hockey’s future, like all futures, is foggy. A controversial enlargement to Las Vegas, a default of Stanley Cups for Canadian franchises, a less-than-grand success of this World Cup and a state of a general diversion — any raises some-more questions than answers.

Wayne Gretzky has never left a memories. In some ways, he’s been here all along. But if hockey is going to find a solutions compulsory to final another 100 years, it won’t harm to have a wizard who done 212 a right answer around.

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