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Former Kings owner discusses the Gretzky trade


Bruce McNall faced some dark times in recent years, but he can still look back fondly at his time as the owner of the Los Angeles Kings, most notably engineering the Wayne Gretzky trade that shocked - and forever altered - the hockey world.

With the tear-jerking swap nearing its 25th anniversary (that comes on Friday), LA Kings Insider caught up with McNall, 63, to reflect on that whirlwind time.

The interview covers many of the bases (like the outrage displayed by then-Edmonton Oilers head coach Glen Sather), but McNall’s description of Gretzky’s introductory press conference ranks among the highlights:

“It was a bit surreal. Having come back from the Edmonton press conference, which was very emotional, I didn’t know what to expect from our press conference because normally for the Kings, if you had a beat writer and some local TV station, that would be a big press conference for us,” McNall said. “So when I got to the chairs there, it was a mob scene. I couldn’t believe the attention we were already getting. By the time we got up there, and I did the announcement of Wayne, which at the same time debuted colors…and holding up the colors and having Wayne there, it was just surreal.”

McNall explained how everything “just exploded” from there, as Gretzky’s teammates asked for autographs, the Forum Club became a hot spot for celebrities and ticket sales went through the roof.

For more from McNall, click here.

Oh, in case you’re wondering if he still follows the Kings, here’s an unlikely photo of McNall attending a game (and sitting alongside Metta World Peace/Ron Artest) in Oct. 3, 2009 (via Getty):

Phoenix Coyotes v Los Angeles Kings

LOS ANGELES - OCTOBER 3: Los Angeles Laker’ Ron Artest (left) and former Kings owner Bruce McNall watch the game between the Los Angeles Kings and the Phoenix Coyotes on October 3, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images)

Juan Ocampo

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins