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So does the Great One worry about what this game and this world might do to his son? There’s electricity flowing through the air, so much so that officials are fearful that someone might get fried to death by a stray bolt from on high. But we don’t often talk about the other ones, the Gretzkys who were drafted by the Buffalo Sabres and the Tampa Bay Lightning and spent a combined 20 seasons toiling in minor-league hockey. and learn to hit the ball harder, otherwise he too might fail. Sure, it has ties to the North, but this is about a boy who grew up away from our world and its frozen mythologies. He remembers the apartment at 63rd and Madison near the base of Central Park where the Gretzkys lived while Wayne played for the Rangers.
Gretzky shrugs, shells another peanut and looks at Trevor at the plate. Then comes the thunder followed by the launch of a fastball. Janet rises to her feet, shouting at the ball now heading toward the right-field wall. We cut them out of the legend because they distract from the narrative about a boy who learned everything he knew from his father. That’s why he woke up this morning and went out to a local diner to get the biggest plate of pancakes possible. Trevor Gretzky was barely old enough to remember the particulars when his father took to the ice for the last time. Trevor was six, his older brother, Ty, was eight and their sister, Paulina, was 10. The three Gretzky children sat with their mother and grandparents in the stands of Madison Square Garden surrounded by men and women they did not know. He looks back fondly at all the days when his father would wake him up at dawn and take him and Ty down to the Garden for morning practice, and how they’d stop at the same place every morning on their way to the rink so that Wayne could grab a coffee while his boys munched on cantaloupe and drank chocolate milk.
It didn’t seem abnormal–Wayne had been their hero for as long as they could remember. “I remember sitting in the stands and then they took us down in an elevator to the ice,” says Trevor. Then they brought us out and I saw him on the ice, circling around. He remembers how, if he looked beyond the outfield toward the Bronx, he could see Yankee Stadium in the distance.
He remembers his dad showing him how to hit, throw and catch a ball on that field. “That’s where I first fell in love with the game and started dreaming about winning the World Series,” Trevor says.
It’s the kind of story Gretzky has heard many times from strangers who recount their memories of the day he was traded, the time he broke Gordie Howe’s scoring record and the night he hung up his skates. There’s a story every Canadian knows about a father who built a rink behind his house so his sons could play shinny from dawn until dusk.
Feeling connected to Gretzky is part of what it means to be a Canadian. His five children though, including Trevor, are still learning what it actually means to carry the family name. But in the end he’s got to perform on his own.” The words don’t seem prophetic until a few moments later when lightning flashes beyond the right-field wall. Legend tells that one of the boys on that rink rose above his brothers to become the greatest hockey player who ever lived.
Janet was pregnant with their fourth child but they could just as easily have headed north, relocated to Brantford, Toronto, Edmonton, Sault Ste.
Sure, they knew their dad had been a hockey star and their mom was an actress, but they weren’t immersed in the mythology that surrounded their courtship and marriage.
They didn’t eat Pro Stars or watch Pro Stars, didn’t know that an entire country considered their father a prince and their mother Yoko Ono.
That Ty Gretzky never really cared much for the game was fine by his father.
Wayne never expected his sons to love baseball (or hockey, for that matter) as much as he did.