In the spirit of “where were you when JFK was assassinated,” I was returning home from a vacation with my parents on August 9, 1988. We were somewhere near Cleveland, I had my Walkman* on in the back seat, and my parents got my attention to tell me that it had just been announced on the radio that Wayne Gretzky was being traded to LA later that day.
I remember thinking it seemed improbable that such a thing would really happen — the business side of hockey is a little obscure when you’re 15. And then I remember picturing Gretzky in the gold and purple of the Kings and thinking that he would look very handsome in that uniform.
We got home to Cincinnati that afternoon in time for me to watch the press conferences and see that the trade was real, and that the Kings didn’t wear gold and purple anymore. Nothing would ever be the same again — now there are NHL teams all over the place, and the hideous bland uniform trend still hasn’t been killed off.
* That’s what we called iPods in those days