Jack Blackfelt's Reviews > Gretzky's Tears: Hockey, Canada, and the Day Everything Changed

Gretzky's Tears by Stephen Brunt
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Jul 24, 2010

really liked it
Read from July 15 to 24, 2010

How was the most amazing teenager to ever play the game of hockey taken from home and purchased in a 21-year contract and then brought into a rival league? How did he become a national hero when his team was brought into the NHL and became a close knit dynasty of Stanley Cup winning players and friends as he rapidly rose to become the "Great One?" Why did one of the most self-serving examples of an 80s/90s blowhard venture capitalist sell him to a quintessential American ponzi-scheme crook, and what effect did that have on his teammates, players around the league and fans across Canada? What happened to the career of the "Great One" after he left the historical success of the Edmonton Oilers for the sub-stardom of the Los Angeles Kings, and what did he do when his new boss' empire crumbled into federal fraud convictions? And how has Canada clung to this man as their national hero more than two decades since he last lived there?

Stephen Brunt describes all the details around these questions with the same candor and occasionally transparent bias as he did with a completely different career and era in Searching For Bobby Orr. In the end I really got a better understanding of how my favorite sport has been marketed to me as an American, and how the game and people's lives have been tinkered with in order to make it more profitable. Regionalism and nationalism are always personal choices one can choose to identify with or not, but Brunt illustrates how market forces and fat cats jaded many people in Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Quebec City...and quite possibly the hero with the all-time records himself.
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