The Brantford, Ontario, native led the Edmonton Oilers to four titles in the 1980s. A Canadian team hasn't won the Stanley Cup since 1993.
Were there parallels between LeBron James's leaving Cleveland for Miami and your leaving Edmonton for Los Angeles?
Wayne Gretzky: I think it was a little bit different. [Mine] was more of a mutual understanding between me and the organization that maybe it was time to let me go. As a matter of fact, the process of me leaving Edmonton probably originated within the organization.
Could you have stayed?
WG: I'm not sure that ownership at that time wanted to pay me fair market value. They made the decision that they didn't want to lose me as a free agent, and they traded me a year before my contract expired. Looking back, it's something that worked out well for Edmonton. [The Oilers] got a lot of young players and went on to win a championship. I was thrilled to be part of the L.A. Kings over the years.
Would you have liked to play with Mario Lemieux?
WG: We played together in 1987 in the Canada Cup. I had more fun playing with Mario than I've ever had playing hockey. He would have added 10 years to my career, without question. He was so smart and talented. We played the game the same way. We thought it the same way.
Is it fair to compare Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin with you?