A Recent History of Dramatic Sports Homecomings Image via Getty Images/Bruce Bennett

Wayne Gretzky

Date of homecoming: 10/19/1988
New team: Edmonton Oilers
Former team: Los Angeles Kings
What transpired: The Great One got a much deserved standing O in his return to Edmonton.
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When Gretzky was traded to the L.A. Kings, much of the anger Edmonton fans felt about the transaction wasn't aimed at Gretzky, but rather his wife, Janet Jones, and the Oilers owner, Peter Pocklington. Jones, an actress, was looked at as a Yoko Ono-type figure, responsible for breaking up an Oilers team that featured Mark Messier and Kevin Lowe, so that she could more seriously pursue her career. Meanwhile, Pocklington was regarded as a greedy SOB for the trade, having broken up one of the closest-knit teams in the league in order to capitalize on Gretzky's trade value.

After the trade had been finalized, Pocklington was burned in effigy by Oilers fans. However, when Gretzky actually came back home, all of this ill will was set aside in order to give a proper welcome to the Canadian hero. Though his Kings would leave with a loss, Gretzky was treated to a standing O by the fans, and warm greetings from his former teammates. For Gretzky, who commented before the game about how tough it would be to play against his former teammates, it likely couldn't have been a more perfect night.

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