Gretzky's Tears: Hockey, Canada, And The Day Everything Changed

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Gretzky's Tears: Hockey, Canada, And The Day Everything Changed

by Stephen Brunt

Knopf Canada | October 26, 2010 | Trade Paperback

Gretzky's Tears: Hockey, Canada, And The Day Everything Changed is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 4.
Renowned sportswriter Stephen Brunt reveals how “the Great One,” who was bought and sold more than once, decided that the comfortable Canadian city where hockey ruled couldn’t compete with the slushy ice of a California franchise.

Bobby Orr’s career ended prematurely, with tears. Wayne Gretzky’s tears, unlike Orr’s, announced not an ending but another beginning. Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers had four Stanley Cup victories, but Gretzky may then have had other goals in mind.

Beginning with his dad, Walter, and continuing with Nelson Skalbania, Peter Pocklington, Bruce McNall, Jerry Buss — and with the CBC’s Peter Gzowski as chronicler for the eager masses — the enormity of Gretzky’s talent attracted all sorts of people who were after a variety of vicarious thrills.


From the Hardcover edition.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 272 pages, 7.98 × 5.16 × 0.7 in

Published: October 26, 2010

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307397300

ISBN - 13: 9780307397300

Found in: Sports and Fitness

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent I thought Brunt's writing was superb throughout. His eye for details and in describing little things painted a lot of vivid pictures in my mind as I read - always the sign of good writing. The whole episode, as painted by Brunt, seems to boil down to this: everybody involved wasn't quite honest with each other. Pocklington, McNall and, sadly, even Gretzky himself. In hindsight, it seemed like everyone was trying to fool somebody else just a little bit with the whole thing. But Pocklington definitely comes off as the biggest jacka$$ of the whole thing. Brunt does a great job in dissecting his phony facade, whisker by well groomed whisker.
Date published: 2011-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Enjoyable Trip Through Gretzky's Career Stephen steps us through the past 30 years of the NHL as seen through the career of the greatest hockey player of that era. He provides us with the most relevant facts that shaped not only the career of Wayne Gretzky but also the decisions of people around him that shaped the league to what it is today. A thoroughly enjoyable read that is laced with well documented and very interesting behind the scenes information. Unfortunately the ending is a bit anticlimactic, but in a sense I guess it mirrors the career of the player. For all the glory that Wayne has achieved in his illustrious life in hockey, Stephen has shown that from the time he turned pro it was always about the money. His close relationship with the owners of his teams (Pocklington and McNall) is well documented and it is evident that it did shape him as the person he is outside the rink. It was his mother and father that instilled a true sense of Canadian humility and an honest love of the game of hockey that endeared him to all Canadians but it was Pocklington and McNall who introduced him to capitalistic greed. It is rather ironic that one could have diametrically opposite role models in one's life. Although Stephen does not say it, this can be seen as the real reason for Gretzky's Tears.
Date published: 2009-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from honest My wife recently gave me this book as a gift and I enjoyed it immensely. Earlier I had thought that I had little interest in something else about Gretzky but the book touches on much more, including revisiting final WHA years and a useful review of hockey in the 1980's and up to the 1993 playoffs in particular. After 1993 the story dies off probably because Gretzky's final years were not intended to be the subject. I found the writing style to be very comfortable and it was hard to put the book down. Mr Brunt interviewed a number of key people including Skalbania, Pocklington, McNall, Sather and other teammates. The Pocklington revelations were predictable. The LA King history through expansion and Jerry Buss were interesting but the parts that dealt with McNall definitely showed the flaws in the man that became well known with his legal troubles. Mr Brunt usually writes very clearly and factually with humour and added details so he is well suited to write these sports histories. This book does an excellent job of summarizing the Gretzky history to lay the groundwork for the big day in 1988 and is well worth a read for all those with an interest in (fairly) recent hockey history. Mr Brunt writes in a friendly style and since finishing this book I have dusted off some of his earlier books that I also had on my shelf including the Bobby Orr book and the 20 year history of the Blue Jays (published 1997) for similar enjoyment. For his next title I would love to see a story on Gary Bettman's tenure and effect on the NHL and sports because so much has happened since Bettman arrived on the scene. This would effectively make a trilogy for hockey and cover greater than 40 years of NHL through 3 key people (Orr 1960's-1978, Gretzky 1978-1993, Bettman 1992-present). For the record I am a Maple Leaf fan and, yes, the Fraser non-call still grates on me. I have a crystal clear memory of the 1993 playoffs and Mr Brunt's reporting of that LA/Toronto series is spot on as far as I can see.
Date published: 2009-11-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Fascinating If 99 hadn't spoiled the Leafs run in '93 I'd probably enjoy it more ;)
Date published: 2009-10-29

– More About This Product –

Gretzky's Tears: Hockey, Canada, And The Day Everything Changed

by Stephen Brunt

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 272 pages, 7.98 × 5.16 × 0.7 in

Published: October 26, 2010

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307397300

ISBN - 13: 9780307397300

Read from the Book

Chapter One The Next One   It is the same story. It is a different story.   Small town, working folks, genius sprung straight from the land, honed on frozen slough or backyard rink. Twenty years on, the shinny creation myth hadn''t really changed so much, even if so much else had. A new setting now, and Brantford wasn''t Parry Sound. Not the near north, the cottager''s idea of wilderness, not a prairie crossroads, a backwoods outpost, but the kind of place where most Canadians really lived. It was a city of modest proportions, industrial and gritty, the town that Massey Ferguson built, the country''s capital of combine harvesters. The Grand River split it in two, but on Varadi Avenue most of the skating was done on dad-made ice. Walter Gretzky was a driven man, a hard man, who never made more than twenty-five grand working for the Bell (Alexander Graham had lived in Brantford too). He grew up on a farm, never drove a new car, and counted every nickel. He was a tough little guy who once cracked his skull in an accident on the job, was in a coma for awhile, was off work for eighteen months while the family struggled to live on disability payments. When he recovered, he was left deaf in one ear and his head hurt all the time. There was nothing golden or glamorous about Wally. He didn''t like the night life or want to charm the ladies or walk with the ex-athlete''s swagger, though he certainly didn''t mind a bit of attention. He had a big schnozz, a face right from the
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Table of Contents

1. The Next One
2. The Prodigy Business
3. A Golden Age of Hustlers
4. Hockey Hollywood
5. Bruce''s Big Idea
6. The Last Perfect Moment (I) May 26, 1988
7. A Star in Star-Ville
8. The Art of the Deal
9. Gretzky''s Tears
10. Breach of Faith
11. The Miracles of Los Angeles
12. A Long Goodbye
13. The Last Perfect Moment (II) May 9, 1993
14. Mirage

Epilogue 

Acknowledgments



From the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

Renowned sportswriter Stephen Brunt reveals how “the Great One,” who was bought and sold more than once, decided that the comfortable Canadian city where hockey ruled couldn’t compete with the slushy ice of a California franchise.

Bobby Orr’s career ended prematurely, with tears. Wayne Gretzky’s tears, unlike Orr’s, announced not an ending but another beginning. Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers had four Stanley Cup victories, but Gretzky may then have had other goals in mind.

Beginning with his dad, Walter, and continuing with Nelson Skalbania, Peter Pocklington, Bruce McNall, Jerry Buss — and with the CBC’s Peter Gzowski as chronicler for the eager masses — the enormity of Gretzky’s talent attracted all sorts of people who were after a variety of vicarious thrills.


From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Stephen Brunt is Canada’s premier sportswriter and commentator. In addition to Searching for Bobby Orr, he is also the author of Facing Ali: The Opposition Weighs In, and of The Way It Looks from Here: Contemporary Canadian Writing on Sports. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario, and in Winterhouse Brook, Newfoundland.

Editorial Reviews

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

"Brunt captures the feelings of shock and betrayal set off by The Trade better than anything I''ve ever read. Long the consensus pick as Canada''s best sportswriter, Brunt has probably earned the right to be called one of our best writers, period."
— The Gazette

"Gretzky''s Tears is as penetrating a book, and as sure in its navigation of hockey''s cultural currents, [as Searching for Bobby Orr]."
— The Globe and Mail

"If there''s a more interesting and committed sports writer in Canada than Stephen Brunt, I don''t know them."
— Dave Bidini, National Post


From the Hardcover edition.
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