August 9th happens to be the day where my twin cousins happen to be celebrating their birthday. When they were celebrating their 15th birthday back in 1988, a trade happened which brought shock waves throughout the NHL. After needing more money due to his other business ventures falling down the toilet, Oilers owner Peter Pocklington decided that he needed to trade one of his best players. That best player happened to be "The Great One", Wayne Gretzky. At first Gretzky had wanted to stay put but after taking with Kings owner Bruce McNall, both parties managed to work something out. The deal was Gretzky along with Mike Krushelnyski, and Marty McSorley went to LA for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, two first round draft picks and $15 million dollars.
The impact of the trade happened to of been very significant. Most people in Los Angeles at the time were mostly into watching the Lakers, the Dodgers, and yes both the Rams and the Raiders (both are now relocated). With Gretzky present in the LA night life, the Kings saw an increase in attendance and in fan interest. To add to that, the NHL saw an increase in teams that are located in non-traditional hockey markets in the States all because of Gretzky's popularity. Examples of teams that were established because of this were Florida, Tampa Bay, Phoenix, Anaheim, San Jose and Dallas.
Had Gretzky stayed in Edmonton, there would of been that possibility of not seeing those teams being established because why would the population even bother trying to watch a game that they simply do not understand. As well if the great one had not be traded, would the Kings still stay in Los Angeles with the lack of fan support at the time? Well we would only know the answers if Gretzky had simply not been traded or traded to another market that had cared for hockey at the time.