Images: Volume 1, Week 21

In one of his classic moves, Wayne Gretzky worked around the net for a shot on goal.

In one of his classic moves, Wayne Gretzky worked around the net for a shot on goal.

Gretzky3_03281982

Gretzky worked through traffic.

“The Great One.” That is quite a nickname. It takes a special person to bear the responsibility of such expectations. Somehow, Wayne Gretzky always managed to carry that weight as if it was no heavier than the minimal pads sitting on his slender shoulders under his jersey with the number “99” emblazoned on the back. Gretzky’s immense skills made him a transcendent hockey player. Add in his charm and personality, and Gretzky became “the Great One” for the National Hockey League.

Gretzky celebrating a goal.

Gretzky celebrating a goal.

His popularity helped establish NHL hockey and bring new fans to the game in areas far removed from the northeast regions of Canada and the United States where the league began. Gretzky scored a league record 92 goals in 1982, a mark that still stands. Even the Arizona Republic took notice of Gretzky’s greatness. On March 28, 1982, I photographed Gretzky playing in the Forum against the Los Angeles Kings.

Gretzky cutting down a hockey stick before the game.

Gretzky cutting down a hockey stick before the game.

My hockey photography remains very limited. Prior to the game in LA, the Kansas City Scouts offered some opportunities from 1974-76 before the franchise skated away from Kemper Arena for Denver. All the Forum regulars from the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times and other area newspapers had priority for the few holes drilled in the protective plexiglass for photographers. Shooting through the glass was my only option.

On that night, the Oilers won 6-2. The Kings would gain revenge in April, though, by knocking the Oilers out of the playoffs.The Oilers would soon dominate the NHL, winning five Stanley Cups from 1984 through 1990. I cannot remember how many goals Gretzky scored that night, but that does not matter. It was just so much fun to photograph “The Great One.” How many can say they have pictures of hockey’s superstar in his skivvies?

Gretzky on a breakaway against the Los Angeles Kings in 1982.

Gretzky on a breakaway against the Los Angeles Kings in 1982.

Gretzky enjoyed a beer while meeting with media .

Gretzky enjoyed a beer while meeting with media .

 

 

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About jeffjacobsen

Thank you for reading my blog, Here I Stand. You can read all about me, my wife and my family on the Family page. God bless and keep you.
This entry was posted in History, Hockey, Journalism, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Images: Volume 1, Week 21

  1. The last true dynasty. Gretzky was a marvel. I grew up watching him in the 90’s and he became my favorite player. I wore 99 for years when I played. The most amazing thing about him, to me, is that he doesn’t look like someone who would have such astronomical stats. He was certainly playing a different game than everyone else.
    Great pics!

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