By Ian Oland
NBCSN teased the interview that it conducted between Alex Ovechkin and Wayne Gretzky last week and revealed that The Great One finally gave The Great Eight that game-used stick he promised him.
But they left off Gretzky’s part of the story and that part is even more incredible.
Gretzky divulged that Ovechkin asked for the coveted piece of memorabilia after the two had dinner together in Malibu during the 2015-16 season.
“He asked me after dinner while we were standing in the parking lot,” Gretzky recalled smiling. “He said, ‘Okay, can I get one of your game-used sticks?’ I said, ‘All right when you win the Stanley Cup, I’ll get you one.’ He never bothered me one time until he won the Cup.”
And then Gretzky’s phone buzzed all the time.
“I heard from him once a month,” Gretzky said. “‘Where’s my stick?’
“We found an old stick,” Gretzky said. “Peter Millar, our trainer at the time, used to number every one of my sticks, jerseys, and gloves. I was looking for the 808 number stick. I couldn’t find it. I think it’s in the Hockey Hall of Fame. I found 807. It was numbered. It was my 807th goal. And I sent it to him. I remember thinking ‘Wow, I don’t give away these things. But I’m so happy I got to send one to him and I was very proud of the fact he wanted it.”
After some research, Gretzky’s stick is from the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season. Ovechkin was 10 at the time.
Gretzky, then on the Los Angeles Kings, scored an empty-net goal during a March 13, 1995 game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Kings won 4-1.
The goal was Gretzky’s fifth of the season and it was assisted by Rick Tocchet and Tony Granato.
At the end of the story, Gretzky floated this idea to Ovi.
“I hope I get one of his sticks because I gave him one of my sticks,” Gretzky said. “Maybe we can do a nice trade.”
Headline photo courtesy of NBCSN/NHL
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