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BBQ, beer and the KGB: Wayne Gretzky’s crazy story at the 1987 Canada Cup
Wayne Gretzky has probably experienced it all in his NHL career. After all, the man considered the greatest player of all time played 1,487 NHL regular-season games, 208 playoff games and, most importantly, a ton of games representing Canada.

And he has just about every record in the NHL: in short, we’re talking about a player who’s had a pretty full career.

Of course, having had such a storied career makes Gretzky a gold mine in terms of stories.

And yesterday, as part of the Christmas episode of Spittin’ Chiclets, Gretzky was interviewed, and he revealed a pretty crazy story involving barbecue, beer, the KGB and the 1987 Canada Cup.

Basically, Gretzky explains that back then, Russian players were constantly supervised by the KGB. While they were in Canada for the tournament, played in the midst of the Cold War, it was hard for the guys to have fun.

So La Merveille chatted with the big Russian players of the time, and for the occasion, he decided to invite them to his place for a barbecue. They accepted, but were obliged to bring two KGB representatives to supervise them.

And since Gretzky wanted the guys to enjoy themselves a little, he arranged to distract the two KGB members and take the Russian players to another room. He took the opportunity to buy them a beer and talk hockey with them, and the legend says it did the guys a world of good.

In those days, it would have been frowned upon for Russians to sympathize with the enemy, so he had to make sure he did it behind closed doors.

And frankly, hats off to Gretzky for finding a way to show the Russian players, who were constantly under the suffocating supervision of the KGB, a good time. It did them good to decompress and talk hockey with a guy like Gretzky, and he made sure they could do it without a hitch.

In the end, Canada had beaten the USSR in the final, so Gretzky had the last laugh. But in spite of it all, it was a great bonding experience on a human level.

In bursts

– The offensive stars will have to step up. Until then, hats off to the support players, who played a big game today.

– Habs prospect Filip Eriksson had a good game today.

– Kevin Kiermaier back in Toronto.

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