That time a Marty McSorley comeback in the locker room led to Wayne Gretzky retiring in the middle of a game

You never wanted to be on Marty McSorley’s bad side. McSorley was a great enforcer, and during most of his career, he had only one mission: To keep Wayne Gretzky safe.

The greatest hockey player in history, of course, needed protection. Opponents wanted him out of the game, but few dared to do something nasty against him because they knew that would lead to them having to deal with McSorley.

Marty and Wayne became friends on the ice as well, and when The Great One was traded to the LA Kings, McSorley came with him.

Gretzky has praised McSorley so many times for what an incredible teammate he was, but one time, things got heated between them.

Wayne Gretzky rarely lashed out on the ice. He was a gentleman and a great teammate, but one time, he just got enough of McSorley’s decisions on the ice.

”People have asked me, ’Did he ever explode?’” Rick Tocchet said to begin a great story about Gretzky and McSorley.

”And I said it was one time, we were playing Anaheim. Wayne sets up a play with Mart McSorley, and told him, ’Hey, when I pass you here, I want you to shoot the puck, and I’ll go to the net.’ But Marty tries to make a pass cross-ice. Paul Kariya knocks it down, has a breakaway and almost scores.”

Wayne Gretzky told McSorley to listen to his instructions.

”So we get to the bench, Gretzky goes, ’Marty, just do what I say.’ Two shifts later, the same thing happens. He wins a draw; Marty did the exact same thing. He tries to go cross-ice, Teemu Selanne knocks it down, and he ends up scoring.

”After the period, Wayne gets mad and he says, ’Marty! What are you doing out there? I have 800 goals. I know what I’m talking about. Just do what I say.’”

880101 ishockey, NHL: Wayne Gretzky, Los Angeles © Bildbyrån – 13507

Rick Tocchet and his teammates were in shock; it wasn’t every day Wayne Gretzky exploded.

”Marty looked at him and said, ’You know, Gretz. How many from the point?’ So Wayne throws his equipment down, he walks out, and says, ’I quit.’ He walked out.

”He came back five minutes later, but he was pretty hot about that.”

UNIONDALE, NY – NOVEMBER 14: Wayne Gretzky #99 of the Edmonton Oilers skates on the ice during an NHL game against the New York Islanders on November 14, 1981 at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by B Bennett/Getty Images)

Rick Tocchet laughs about the story now, but he didn’t back then.

”We didn’t laugh at the time. We had never seen him get mad like that. He threw his gloves. And when Marty said ’How many from the points’ he was just done,” he laughed.

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