Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gretzky King of all Media: Out of sight, but not out of mind!

He may not have a job behind the bench at the moment and has been keeping a low profile of late, but as fall moves towards winter we're suddenly learning a lot more about Wayne Gretzky.

While the iconic statesman of the modern game ponders his next move against his former team and the NHL over unresolved salary issues, his persona is being revealed in ways never seen before and in a variety of fashions.

Stephen Brunt recently released his latest work of the hockey genre, Gretzky's Tears, a far reaching account of the Trade of NHL century which saw Canada's beloved scoring sensation moved out of the cold Edmonton winters to the sunny climes of California, a fair bit of treason that to this day probably has Peter Pocklington donning disguises.

Along that vein, Pocklington himself has penned his own version of that particular moment in hockey history. I’d Trade Him Again: On Gretzky, Politics, and the Pursuit of the Perfect Deal, providing the viewpoint of the historic trade from the slant of the cold hearted capitalist. And while the book moves beyond the hockey world and follows Pocklington's other interests both business and sport, it will be the Gretzky sections that no doubt gain the most attention and review.

Both will no doubt be found under a few Christmas trees this holiday season, though Edmontonians probably won't be feeling very cheery after their first read through.

And now as though a companion piece for all this literature, comes a documentary film from Southern California film maker Peter Berg, the director who brought us Hancock, Friday Night Lights and The Kingdom to name a few, turns his attention to the Gretzky story with King's Ransom.

His feature documentary follows the impact that the Gretzky trade had not only on the psyche of Edmonton and Canadians for that matter, but how it provided instant credibility for hockey in Southern California taking it from just another sports diversion to the A list of sports for its brief moment in the spotlight in Los Angeles.

Berg is a long time hockey fan, originally from New York, with a passion for the game. In King's Ransom he has chronicled the Gretzky arrival with a dedication to detail and perhaps providing the most revealing portrait yet of the raw emotions and cold calculations that changed the nature of the game in Canada forever. Highlighting the realization that in the end, it would be money that forever dictated the future of the game from that day on.

King's Ransom will be aired on TSN on Wednesday 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT, part of their showcase for the ESPN series 30 for 30.

Oiler fans are advised to stock up on the Kleenex, for them this could be the equivalent of a romance movie with a very sad ending.

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