Did you know that Wayne Gretzky started his professional career in Indianapolis? He was 17 years old and playing for the Indianapolis Racers. Of course, that isn’t why he’ll understand the emotions that Peyton Manning will be experiencing on Sunday. It is because of his trade from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings. Gretzky won four Stanley Cups with the Oilers.
“Let me tell you something, Peyton won’t sleep much this week because of the emotions and excitement that he’s probably feeling,” Gretzky said, via the Los Angeles Times’ Sam Farmer. “I can’t speak for him, but I know what I went through. It’s pretty emotional. I spent a lot of years there, like he did, and you become almost friends with the city.”
“Indianapolis is similar to Edmonton in that it’s not New York or Los Angeles,” Gretzky said. “So you’re at the stadium, and the places you go to eat, and the people you meet in the community are the people who are in those seats. So they become friends. They’re not just fans, they become more like friends. So it becomes very emotional.”
Now Gretzky’s departure from Edmonton was a completely different set of circumstances than Peyton’s, but he understands the emotion of the return.