A rare book review: “I’d Trade Him Again”

This site doesn’t usually do book reviews and I don’t usually write them, but I felt I had to bring this to your attention.

I just finished reading I’d Trade Him Again – since renamed The Puck Talks Here – a biography of former Oilers owner Peter Pocklington that charts the story of Pocklington’s life and how Wayne Gretzky was traded from Edmonton to Los Angeles in 1988.

The book, written by Terry McConnell and J’lyn Nye, contains frequent terrific insight from Pocklington himself.

What makes it great?

Well, did you know that Gretzky twice nearly became a Toronto Maple Leaf?

In the first bizarre tale, it turns out that Pocklington and Leafs owner Harold Ballard were close to striking a deal in 1980 that would have literally swapped the two franchises.  Pocklington and Gretzky would have suddenly been uprooted to Toronto and become the Maple Leafs, while Ballard and the old Leafs moved to Edmonton to assume the Oilers’ identity.  Pocklington was a shrewd businessman and Ballard was in massive debt and in need of cash, so Pocklington agreed to throw in $50 million.  That would have removed Ballard from debt and still kept his team in a rabid hockey market, while Pocklington would have cashed in on Gretzky’s fame in arguably the best hockey city in the world.  Ballard only backed out of the transaction after bringing on Molson Brewery as an ownership partner for the Leafs.

The book is an incredibly detailed behind the scenes account of how Pocklington became the Oilers’ owner, how Edmonton acquired “The Great One,” the dynasty’s rise and fall, as well as Pocklington’s own eventual fall from grace.

And of course, Pocklington continuously insists that he has no regrets over trading Gretzky.

The book even has significant ties to the Rangers, as Pocklington’s long-time friend and former employee Glen Sather is heavily featured.

I urge you to give it a read.

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  • Thanks. I’m interested in Behind the Moves but can’t afford the price. Looks to be good.

  • ummm Flyers offer sheeted Shea Weber. Where are you guys on that? Nashville better match, but who knows given how frugal they are. I mean if I am a fan of the predators and they dont match this deal i would stop following the team. Cant let 2 studs leave.

    As for our division, Flyers will be ridiculous. They will have to probably shed a contract or two, but that will be scary. If say pronger were to come back healthy, with timmonen on defense that is tough to beat with that offense. Their PP next year would be impossible to stop.

  • I know that it’s legal to make an offer for a restricted free agent, but that is really low class. I hope that Nashville signs Weber to the amount offered by Filthadelphia, and that low life organization loses out on Weber.

    I hadn’t heard of the offer until this morning, reading the above post, and I agree, why wasn’t that written about????? This is a desperation move by Holgrum, and that piece of crap Snyder.

  • Our division just got a lot tougher. Still no big scoring forward in the fold. Not everyone is waiting for a new CBA. Islanders are not good, but play like they have nothing to lose, which is dangerous. Flyers could be much stronger and, while NJD lost Parise, they still tend to stifle us. Somebody give Slats a nudge and tell him Semin is still available!

  • Yea if there was one GM to make a move like this, it is anyone who has the position in Philadelphia. I hope in the coming years every team runs wild on the Flyers RFAs like Simmonds, schenn, grioux, coutourier. Other point is that with this deal Flyers are at exactly 70 million dollars. Given the RFAs I listed it is safe to say that Hartnell is gone next year.

    Timmonen has one more year at 6.3 million and pronger’s 4.7 million hit is up in the air.

  • That move just shows how dumb Holmgren is and as his Hockey career displayed; how little class he has.

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