By Sean Hartnett (@HartnettHockey)
A total of 25 years have passed since the most intrinsic of Canadian icons was shipped from the blue-collar city of Edmonton to the fast-paced, celebrity-studded megalopolis that is Los Angeles.
Back in 1988, Wayne Gretzky was Canada’s greatest symbol. Actor Michael J. Fox had grown up in front of CBC cameras before making his move to Los Angeles at the age of 18. Fox belonged to Americans as much as he did to Canadians. Once “Back To The Future” debuted in theaters in 1985, Fox had become a full-blown worldwide star.
The difference was that prior to his trade to the Kings, Gretzky was purely a Canadian symbol. He wasn’t an in-your-face brat like Justin Bieber. Gretzky symbolized the hardworking, laid-back, charming nature of Canadians. Like Fox, he was the boy next door who happened to make it big.
Gretzky’s greatness was forged on the backyard rink of his Brantford, Ontario home with father, Walter imparting wisdom and having...