Wayne Gretzky played for both the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers during his Hall of Fame career, so he has a lot of interest in this year’s Stanley Cup Final between the teams.
Gretzky attended Wednesday night’s Game 1 at Staples Center in L.A. and dropped the ceremonial first puck. One of the game’s great ambassadors, Gretzky also is playing the role of diplomat as two of his former teams do battle.
He’s not going to pick a winner, and he’s actually rooting for both teams, if that makes any sense.
“Oh, I wouldn’t do that (pick a winner),” Gretzky told the New York Daily News. “I’m pulling for both.”
The hockey legend does realize how important it is for the NHL to have two huge American markets on hockey’s biggest stage for a couple of weeks.
“This is a special series for the National Hockey League,” he said. “I don’t think there could be anything better right now with the excitement and the enthusiasm in New York with the Rangers and how they won. The same as (Los Angeles). It just has been outstanding. For these two teams to be in the finals, I can’t describe it, it’s just wonderful.”
Gretzky played a pivotal role in helping the Kings become a legitimate NHL franchise when he was traded to Los Angeles on Aug. 9, 1988. All he did with the Kings was register 918 points in 539 games while helping them reach the 1993 Stanley Cup Final, the first in franchise history.
Gretzky finished his career in New York with three seasons as a Ranger.
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