“I got to skate out onto the ice I had imagined when I was a kid in the backyard.” (40)
1. Something I find interesting about this quote is how hockey was part of Wayne Gretzky’s life from his childhood. The ice that Gretzky is talking about isn’t even in Toronto, where he grew up. The arena he’s skating in is in Detroit. This shows how much Gretzky loves the sport of hockey, not just his team. I can relate this to my life because when I watch hockey games on TV, I like to imagine what it would be like to be in that arena (not necessarily playing hockey, but just watching in the arena).
2. This quote reveals that passion and determination are Canadian values. Wayne Gretzky had a goal to play professional hockey from when he was a child. He continuously practiced in his backyard and on the ice in order to accomplish his goal. Gretzky’s passion for the game allowed him to eventually play in the NHL. These values are common amongst many NHL players as well as other Canadians who have dreams they want to accomplish. The quote shows that having ambition and working hard to prove yourself are qualities that are important to be a Canadian. Gretzky is seen as one of the most iconic Canadians ever, and his passion for hockey and determination to be the greatest is something that many Canadians aspire to emulate.
“It’s simply that Wayne’s not going to bring his wife into the final decision and choice of cities and schools and their lives and all that in the middle of the night.” (89)
1. Something I find interesting about this quote is how close Wayne Gretzky was to becoming a Vancouver Canuck. In this quote, Mike Barnett (Gretzky’s agent) is talking to the VP of the Vancouver Canucks about their offer for Gretzky to play in Vancouver. The Canucks called Barnett in the middle of the night and wanted a response to their offer immediately. This quote shows that Wayne values his family more than hockey, even though hockey was his love since he was a kid. Gretzky wouldn’t accept any offers without discussing it with his wife and looking at schools and his family life. This relates to a Canadian value we discussed in class, unity.
2. This quote reveals that Canadians value family and unity. Even though Gretzky wanted to play in Vancouver, he was not willing to make a decision without consulting his family. He cares about his family more than hockey, even though hockey was a part of his life from his early childhood. Gretzky demonstrates unity through his family, team, and country. This unity is similar to the unity many Canadians feel, especially when it comes to Canada vs the United States. Whether it’s sports or politics, many Canadians feel a sense of unity under Canada’s flag. This quote shows that unity is a big part of the Canadian identity, and Wayne Gretzky shows that through his decisions and his game.
“But that mutual dislike lasted only as long as we were playing against each other. Today, a lot of those guys would do anything for one another to help out with a charity. That’s the beauty of sport.” (53)
1. Something I find interesting is how players’ feelings for each other drastically changed after they stopped playing against each other. Many former competitors are now friends after they stopped playing. Watching hockey now, there are many players who I could not see being friends off the ice, but it is a very real possibility. This quote shows that sports are not everything, and relationships are more important. I can relate this quote to my own life because when I played soccer, there were players who I didn’t like to play against. Once those players came on my team, we actually became good friends. I can see how it would be the same in professional sports.
2. This quote shows that Canadians value relationships more than sport. Even though hockey players play hard and hate the other team during the game, once the game is over, there is mutual respect between competitors. That’s the reason why teams line up and shake hands at the end of a playoff series. This quote shows that sport is only one part of life. Relationships and kindness are important to Canadian identity, even though Canadians have a stereotype of loving hockey. The Canadian influence in hockey is shown through the respect players show other players once the skates are off.
“I was on the ground staring up at him and he had his fist over my face. He said, ‘Don’t move, I’m not going to hit you.’.” (72)
1. Something I find interesting about this quote is how even when players are fighting, they still may not actually want to hurt the other player. In this quote, Wayne Gretzky is talking about a fight he was in with a player named Bob Murray. It was Murray’s job to agitate Gretzky, and it worked. Even though they both dropped the gloves, Murray still didn’t hit Gretzky. There is a lot of respect between competitors in the NHL, even when they are supposed to be fighting each other. This quote relates to that Canadian value of kindness that we talked about in class.
2. This quote shows that Canadians value respect and kindness and don’t want to be involved in violence unless they have to. Bob Murray (who is Canadian) didn’t want to hurt Gretzky, he just wanted to take him out of the game in a quiet way. This is similar to how Canada doesn’t get involved in a lot of international situations that require violence unless they absolutely need to. Canada has a ‘peace-first’ mindset diplomatically, the same way Bob Murray and Wayne Gretzky do in hockey. This quote shows that peace is part of the Canadian identity today.
“If I had three points, I wanted four. I always played full-throttle no matter what the score was.” (93)
1. Something I find interesting about this quote is how hard Wayne Gretzky played, no matter what the score was. Even when he was playing a good game, he wanted to play a great game. This quote shows what separated Gretzky from other players. A great game for other players would only be a good game for him. He was never satisfied and always wanted to play better. That’s why he has the most points in NHL history. I can relate this to how I always try to do better on my assignments. Even if I get a good mark, I always try to see what I could have done better in order to improve for next time.
2. This quote reveals that hard work is a core Canadian value. Gretzky’s hard work and determination made him one of the most accomplished and dominant athletes ever. Gretzky is someone Canadians have looked up to for a long time, and one of the most important lessons he taught Canadians was that hard work can accomplish dreams. This passage shows that Canadians value hard work and the determination Gretzky has demonstrated is part of the Canadian identity.
The overall theme that I can take away from my reading so far is that passion for your work often makes your work better. If Gretzky wasn’t the dedicated athlete that he was, he wouldn’t have been the greatest of all time. Gretzky’s passion for the game allowed him to continuously practice and work to get to the NHL and succeed. Gretzky’s love for his family and fans is what makes him more than just a great player, but a great person and a great Canadian. I can apply this to my own life by making sure that I’m around people and doing things that I am passionate about. Being passionate about my work can make it better and also make me a better person.