Tuesday, November 17, 2009

ESPN 30 for 30 - Kings Ransom

After listening to Bill Simmon's podcast with the Director Peter Berg, I went back and watched Kings Ransom again. The podcast is a great supplement to the film. This was the first in the series of 30 films that ESPN has commissioned to celebrate its 30 year anniversary. I have posted an episode guide for the entire 30 for 30 series here.

Kings Ransom looks at the Wayne Gretzky trade. On August 9, 1988, the Edmonton Oilers, fresh off their fourth Stanley Cup victory in five years, sent Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings in a multi-player, multi-million dollar deal. The Trade, as it came to be known, upset Canadians to the extent that New Democratic Party House Leader demanded that the government block it and Pocklington, the owner of the Oilers, was burned in effigy outside the arena in Edmonton.

Gretzky is generally regarded as the best player in the history of the NHL. His jersey number, 99, has been retired by all teams in the National Hockey League.

In addition to lots of footage from 1988, the story is told through an interview with Gretzky. The film does a powerful job portraying the sense of pain that Oilers fans felt losing Gretzky. Gretzky also seems to have more than a few regrets about what might have been if he had not been traded. Gretzky's marriage to Janet Jones is an interesting subplot to the film.

The film is available on Amazon.

Kings Ransom is also available in iTunes.

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