Edmonton has been called home by many storied players in NHL history, including two of the greatest to ever play the game.
Wayne Gretzky and Connor McDavid are akin to each other, both having been scouted at a young age, coming up in the sport to ultimately be Captain’s for the Edmonton Oilers. While there’s some clear differences between the two stars — mostly in Stanley Cups won and years of experience — the two generations are able to relate to each other in the game of hockey.
In a recently released video, GQ Sports sat down with the Great One and McDavid before the pandemic halted all sports to discuss memories, advice, and the future of the game.
Here’s some of the best moments with Gretzky from the video.
On why winning in Edmonton was unlike anywhere else:
“In Edmonton, I could look across the stands and see the same people every single night and know that so-and-so is in that corner and that they’re there, and you knew around Christmas time that they were going to go to Hawaii or Florida or Palm Springs and somebody else was going to be in those seats. But every other game, they were there, with their wife, or their kids — and so I think the biggest difference about winning in Edmonton compared to bigger cities is that everybody, when you win – you’ve seen them every night, so you know that they’re as excited about it as you are and they feel that they’ve done as much to win that Stanley Cup as you did as a player.”
On the best advice he was ever given:
“I was lucky at a young age, I met Gordie (Howe), Gordie was the greatest player that ever played, he could play in any era. He was a special man, he was a really good guy..
Gordie told me at a young age, if you think you know everything about the game, you don’t. You learn something new every single day, and he told me — at 50 years old — he got an assist in the NHL All-Star Game. I can’t even imagine that, today nobody could do that. And he said ‘till the day I put my skates away I learn something new every day.’ I think that’s the best advice I ever got.”
On the places he liked the most and least to play in:
“For me it was Maple Leaf Gardens.. Maple Leaf Gardens to me was the greatest arena there ever was.. playing in Toronto was always special.
When I went to [play for] LA, I hated playing in Edmonton. Not because I didn’t love it, I just felt uncomfortable every single game that I went into Edmonton as an opponent because the people were always so nice to me. So, I really struggled with that.”
On what hockey regrets he has:
“I only have one regret, in 1993. Montreal was a better team than we were, but we were playing as such a good team, had a really good coach… we were up 1-nothing, game 2 we were up 2-1 late and we lost game two, lost 3 games in over time. I wish, if I could replay one week of hockey, that would be the week.If I could’ve won one Stanley Cup there, that would’ve been exciting.”