WAYNE GRETZKY’S OVERTIME HOCKEY
Since it’s my birthday week this week (Yes. I have a birthday week. I have a tradition of milking my birthday for all that it’s worth an making people celebrate my existence for as long as I can) I wanted to write an article about a toy that I would have received on a past birthday. God knows not a birthday went by in my youth(or adulthood) that I didn’t get a toy or two. The problem is not many of them stick out as particularly memorable at the moment. I asked Doug if he could recall any specific birthday present from my past that had me jumping with joy. He said “Our Gretzky hockey game was a birthday present.” While not exactly an action figure, this toy is kind of like 12 action figures and a headquarters all in one! Doug’s birthday is 2 weeks after mine and on this occasion which would’ve been the early 90s when I was in junior high, we agreed to merge our birthday presents so that we could get one big birthday present instead. They had this badboy for sale at our local comic shop, The Cardboard Jungle and it had been calling our names. We already owned an old rusty original 6 table top hockey game that was stashed under the bed gathering dust but this one was new and glorious and we swore to Dad that we would play it enough to get his money’s worth. And play it we did. We played this thing for hours on end, game after game until the pegs had worn down to nothing. We played official seasons and tracked all the wins even keeping track of goals and assists. I’m not sure how many seasons and playoffs we went through before the game gave out on us but I’m sure Doug still has the record books. What was great about this game is that it came with Montreal and Los Angeles (two of our favorites) but you could buy all of the other teams separately which we pretty much did. We would go back to the comic shop and buy new teams almost weekly. The players were 3D and looked nice but were all quite generic. Doug and I would tear open our new teams and immediately break out dad’s old model kit paint and put the names and numbers of our favorite players on the little men. When it came to the goalies we even tried to paint their helmets to match the real goalies often elaborate masks. We’d buy teams we didn’t care for and we’d use them just as much as our favorites all in the name of fair play and to keep our record books on the up and up. We had SO much fun playing with this thing. I should mention though that in the whole 17 or so years that I shared a room with Doug we never once fought or even had a single ill word to say to one another….except when playing this game. This thing brought out my competitive side and temper like nothing else. many times I chucked a puck at Doug’s head while he gloated over a goal. This was truly one of the greatest birthday presents of all time and probably got more use than any other toy I ever received. My Yzerman/Federov line was unstoppable and for some reason could score oodles more goals than any of my other teams. Doug still has the thing at his place on display in his Gretzky shrine and he took a couple of pics of our actual painted players. I wish I could find more pics of the actual game online but they were hard to come by. It was actually quite impressive looking with the glass, penalty box and electronic clock peripherals all snapped into place. 10 out of 10.