Gretzky's farewell to Forum

Archived from 1998-99 season.

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The New York Rangers handed the slumping Los Angeles Kings their sixth straight loss, 5-1.

It was a nostalgic night for Wayne Gretzky and the Kings. It was the last game for the Great One at the Great Western Forum, where he played for Los Angeles for eight seasons between 1988-96. The Kings move to a new arena next year.

"He spent several years in Los Angeles. It was an enjoyable time for him. I think he realized when he moved on, it was time to move. But it was a special time for him." said Kings GM Dave Taylor. "Every time he goes to Maple Leaf Gardens or goes into Detroit, that means an awful lot to him because he grew up with those cities being special to him. I think Los Angeles is the same to him. I don't know where Los Angeles fits in his order, but I'm sure its in that grouping."

Gretzky was brought to Los Angeles in 1988 in the "Trade of the Century" by then-Kings owner Bruce McNall. Gretzky's arrival to Los Angeles is considered the trigger to recent NHL expansion and increased interest in hockey in the USA. It also influenced people like Disney boss Michael Eisner who brought the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim into the league.

"We've had other great player in Los Angeles, including Marcel Dionne," Taylor said. "But he's the one guy who was able to capture the casual fan to get them out to the games. What he's done for the sport, and in the U.S. and even worldwide is amazing."

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