Tilbury’s Connection To The Wayne Gretzky Trade

When Wayne Gretzky was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings, it was considered the biggest deal in hockey history.

The trade happened in 1988, when the Los Angeles Kings sent $15 million in cash, three first round draft picks, Jimmy Carson, and Martin Gelinas to the Edmonton Oilers.

The man who brokered and approved the deal was Peter Pocklington, who had been nicknamed “Peter Puck.”

Twenty-one years prior, Peter Pocklington purchased his first car dealership, known as Westown Ford. At the time, the 25-year-old was the youngest Ford dealership owner in Canada, and his dealership was located in Tilbury, Ontario.

A few years later, he purchased a new dealership in Chatham, Ontario, but by age 29, Pocklington moved to Edmonton where he operated another dealership to great success, leading to his role with the WHA’s Edmonton Oilers, and later the NHL’s Oilers.

Following the Gretzky trade, Pocklington who owned the Oilers, and had watched the team win each of their Stanley Cups, began selling off other stars including Mark Messier, Paul Coffey, Grant Fuhr, Jari Kurri and others, but it wasn’t enough to stop his financial losses.

Eventually, Pocklington sold the Edmonton Oilers in 1998.

Now 80 years old, Pocklington has travelled a long way from Tilbury to Edmonton.

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