They were bitter enemies on the ice. But outside the rink, Wayne Gretzky and Vladislav Tretiak were great friends – who even ended up drinking vodka together.
It was in the middle of the cold war, and the relationship between the hockey nations of Canada and the Soviet Union were at least as chilly. In 1981, the Soviet national team won Canadas own tournament, Canada Cup. Despite superstar Wayne Gretzky adding up 12 points in seven games.
However, even though the Soviets would triumph on the ice, some things were worth more than just a gold medal. Friendship was one of those things.
Invited to the USSR
Two years later, Gretzky got the chance to visit the man who stopped Canada from winning the tournament, the goaltender of the Soviet team, Vladislav Tretiak. The meeting was a unique occasion, which was filmed and made into a shorter documentary.
In this clip, we get to watch Gretzky with family being invited to the Tretiak’s, who had their Canadian guests try some drinks of their country. In the end, you can definitely tell that “The Great One” had at least a couple of glasses of vodka. Spending some quality time with an enemy on the ice, but a friend outside the rink.
See the reunion between Tretiak and Gretzky down below: