Tuesday, April 1, 2014 |
"[Gretzky], despite his most common nickname, was much more than great. He was magnificent. His feats are legendary. When he retired, he held no fewer than sixty-one NHL records, most of which stand today and some of which will stand for at least our lifetimes. Perhaps they will last forever, and hockey will move on to a 'modern era' in which the Gretzky standard is set aside as unattainable."Al Strachan, 99: Gretzky: His Game, His Story
In the pantheon of all-time hockey legends, no one's star shined brighter than Wayne Gretzky. But when you're frequently mentioned alongside Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali and Tiger Woods as legitimate contenders for the title greatest athlete ever, you know you've transcended your sport and become a part of history.
Gretzky's unsurpassed talent, flair for the dramatic, and his humble, squeaky-clean image propelled him into mainstream success and popularity like few before him. But while his relationship with the press and media was generally amiable, few reporters ever got to know Gretzky like veteran sports journalist Al Strachan. The NHL writer and regular broadcast guest has known the Great One for more than 25 years, and has spent countless hours travelling, conversing with, and observing Gretzky, on and off the ice. In 2013, he published what many consider to be the finest and most detailed biography of Gretzky ever written -- 99: Gretzky: His Game, His Story. Written with Gretzky's blessing, it paints an intimate portrait of the hockey hero, from his very public achievements to his behind-the-scenes moments. Many unique stories, like the time Gretzky was travelling around Montreal in a car driven by his idol Guy Lafleur and they got into an accident, are shared in the book.
In the audio clip below, Strachan shares more about his biography, and what Gretzky's legacy has meant.
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