The Day I Gave Wayne Gretzky A Television Set

Madison_Square_Garden

In October 1983, I was working as a television production assistant for the Madison Square Garden Cable Network.  The Edmonton Oilers were in town to play an ice hockey game against the New York Rangers.

My boss, Herb Kaplan, called me into his office to take a 19” SONY Trinitron down to the visitor’s locker room and give it to Wayne Gretzky as he was the “Star Of The Game” last time the two teams played each other.  For being the postgame interview, as the disclaimer went, he was to receive a SONY television set as his prize.

Before the start of the game, I grabbed the bulky box and made my way onto the elevator and down to ice level.  I struggled to carry it into the visitor’s locker room and located Wayne by his stall. “Mr. Gretzky, for being our guest the last time you played the Rangers, we wanted to give you this television set.”

Wayne looked up with a smile, turned to teammate Mark Messier and yelled out, “Hey, Mess… it’s Christmas… early!”  He was totally modest and completely humbled to receive that free gift.

And I was happy to be the one to present it to him.

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