Wayne Gretzky has always been a special player. He was a superstar before he even was a teenager, and everyone knew that he would grow up to be a great hockey player.
Of course, no one could even imagine how great of a player he would become, but it was no doubt that he was a generational talent. Home movies have proved just how dominant Gretzky was already as a kid.
He skated past players and scored goal after goal, and if he was better than anyone else in the NHL, just imagine how unfair it was to have Gretzky on your team as a kid.
But it was never any doubt in Gretzky’s mind that it was all about hockey. He remembers how much he enjoyed playing as a kid.
“For me, I remember when I was six, I would skate eight hours a day,” he told CBC News in 1982.
“I enjoyed it,” he added. “What I enjoyed doing was to skate all afternoon. That’s what I wanted to do, so I did it.”
Wayne Gretzky was a celebrity long before making his debut as a pro. He scored thousands of goals as a kid, and at age 13, he was interviewed on CBC Radio. Gretzky’s team even played in exhibition games so people would get a chance to watch him. But it wasn’t always easy for him.
”I think Wayne handles it very well,” his coach said in the radio interview.
”He’s a pretty mature young fellow, seems to cope with…”
He then shares a story from a game in Quebec.
”We had every radio station in Quebec, the press boys, in our dressing room, plus the autographs that the boys signed. We were really the sweethearts in Quebec, and I was really amazed on how all the players coped with it, not just Wayne.
”Wayne had a lot of people on him during our first game. I looked down at the bench, and all of a sudden, Wayne doesn’t have any sticks. The crowd had reached over, and bang, there was his sticks gone. This type of things didn’t seem to throw him.”
So what happened was the fans in Quebec had actually stolen a 13-year-old Wayne Gretzky’s sticks.
”Oh yeah. We were quite worried that we wouldn’t be able to buy the sticks that he likes to use. Of course, the souvenirs we had were gone after two days. I know my boy, he plays on the team to, and not being aware of the behavior, he asked a guy to hold his stick for him, and he comes back, and it was gone. Because it belonged to a teammate to Gretzky.”