Hockey Corner – Off-ice Training

Wayne Gretzky with Peter Gault

’75-’76 Junior “B”

The picture was taken before our Junior “B” all-star game. In the dressing before the game I was told that a super-star named Wayne Gretzky was going to play with us.

In walks this pale skinny kid. He takes off his clothes. There’s nothing to him. He’s fairly tall but almost skeletal.

Everyone wanted to kill him, of course. Even those of us on the same team. Hockey players are trained for competitive jealousy.

He was only 15. The rest of us were 17. I didn’t even know you could play 2 age groups above your age. Apparently they made exception for him because his numbers were so incredible.

My buddy told me he had scored something like 390 goals one year. I didn’t believe him. It was impossible

As luck would have it, I played on the same line as Wayne. We were clobbering the other team. I started to wonder, why I am I scoring so many goals?

Everyone was worrying about Gretzky. I was wide open. He was just feeding me the puck at opportune moments. A lamppost could score 30 goals a year playing with this guy.

The game seemed to slow down when he had the puck. We were all moving in slow motion. Even him. It wasn’t physical. He exerted some kind of psychic force over the play like a spotlight.

Gretzky left the game halfway through with a “sore wrist”. Everyone was gunning for him, of course. He proved to have a lanky strength you didn’t expect. And more speed than expected.

Poor baby. We mocked. Not to his face but to each other as he left the ice.

Why get myself killed, he must have been thinking.

Ciao, Pietro

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