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What's It Like Playing Against Wayne Gretzky? Interview with Daryl Evans

The unique ability of Wayne Gretzky, who is frequently called the finest hockey player ever, has been compared to that of many superlatives.

There is no debate, the man is without equal, and he will never have one. He has numerous records from peewee hockey to the NHL, where he usually leads in every significant offensive category by a long way ahead of those ranked second.

Daryl Evans On His Experience Playing Against Wayne Gretzky

The arrival of Wayne Gretzky in 1988 was one of the most important factors in hockey's growth in California, particularly. In a interview with Daryl Evans, he mentioned that “When Gretzky came to Los Angeles that really put hockey on a different platform and drew the attention of different parts of the city”

“He brought the Hollywood scene into it, and I think anytime that you get that type of attention, it becomes magnified, everybody else starts to pay attention to it. What Gretzky did, by coming to Los Angeles, took our game to a different level and kind of put it on par with Canada and Toronto."

“As a young player that comes in, especially when you're going into a new environment, to see the city embrace you, and the people embrace you and know who you are, it's a warm feeling."

Daryl went on to discuss his experience facing Gretzky, adding “I had the great fortune of playing both hockey and baseball against Wayne since we were nine years old. So, we'd built a little bit of a friendship all the way through, but it would have been nice to have stepped on the ice alongside him playing on the same team.”

However, he had the opportunity to play against Wayne Gretzky a few times, including during the " Miracle on Manchester ", which is still the NHL's largest comeback. Not only did he play in that iconic game, but Evans also scored the deciding goal when the Kings rallied from a 5-0 deficit to defeat the Gretzky Oilers in the first round of the playoffs.

“It was an incredible moment,” remembers Evans. “I’ve learned to appreciate it more now, many years removed from it. When you do something like that in the NHL, and you do it against Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers, it magnifies it that much more. Looking at the way the two teams lined up going into the playoffs, Gretzky's team had 46 more points than us during the regular season. It was supposed to be a walkover."

Source: NHL lines site Betway

Wayne's Career In Numbers

The NHL's all-time leading goal scorer, Wayne Gretzky has a long list of accomplishments to his name, from the first wooden and composite sticks he handled like magic wands, to his incredible performance numbers. Following a 20-year NHL career with the Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues, and New York Rangers that included 19 seasons in the top league, Wayne Gretzky retired in 1999.

Wayne Gretzky's legacy is unrivalled in history. He holds 61 NHL records, including a few that are simply incredible: single-season records of 92 goals, 163 assists, and 215 points; a point streak of 51 games; 894 career goals and 2,857 career points; 15 seasons with 100 or more points, with 13 of them being consecutive.

In 1980-81, he scored 50 goals in 39 games at the age of 20, breaking the record of 50 goals in 50 games set by Montreal Canadiens legend Maurice "Rocket" Richard in 1944-45 and equalled by Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders in 1980-1981.

Wayne Gretzky was not only a great hockey player but he was also likened to figures who transcended their sports: Muhammad Ali, Pelé, Jack Nicklaus and Secretariat. "No player is bigger than the game," Gretzky said after retiring from hockey, which isn't the case for him.