Anyone who is a hockey fan, plays hockey, or knows about hockey has probably heard of Wayne Gretzky. Some people think of Wayne Gretzky as the greatest hockey player of all time. Early in his NHL career he was the star of the Edmonton Oilers in Canada. After winning four Stanley Cups with the Oilers he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988. Gretzky’s trade was a huge influence in Southern California hockey today.There was quite an uproar from Oilers fans. This was one of the biggest trades ever made. He will always be remembered for his days in Edmonton and Los Angeles.
Since Wayne Gretzky’s trade to the Los Angeles Kings many youth and junior teams have flourished and grown into huge team names.Riptide is a junior team in Oxnard, another ice team that has formed is the California Titans in Simi Valley. In Santa Barbara there is the roller hockey teams from ages 8-16, called the Santa Barbara Hockey Association (SBHA). SBHA also has a high school league which combines all three schools, for a total of four teams this year or three teams for most years.
“Wayne Gretzky is the Great One, and ice and roller hockey is a lot more popular now, than if Gretzky never came to the Los Angeles Kings,” said Tim Wilde, the board president for Santa Barbara Hockey Association. “If Gretzky never came to Los Angeles then there would probably only be one team instead of two NHL teams in Los Angeles. There would also not be as much youth involvement and rinks.”
“Wayne Gretzky was the best player in the NHL,” said junior Taylor Dixon. “There would not be as many rinks; there wouldn’t be as many hockey players of all ages playing in Southern California, if Gretzky never came to the Los Angeles Kings. He definitely had a big influence on hockey in Southern California.”
In conclusion Wayne Gretzky had a massive influence on hockey in Southern California. People may be mad that Gretzky was traded, but many people think that Gretzky is the “Great One” or one of the greatest players in the National Hockey League. Wayne Gretzky is one of the most well known players especially in Los Angeles and Edmonton.