Aug. 9, 1988 is a significant date in NHL history.
It marks the anniversary of the Edmonton Oilers trading Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, three first-round picks and $15 million.
The Gretzky trade to Los Angeles did more than just make the Kings an instant championship contender at the time — it boosted hockey’s popularity in California and the United States. Many credit this trade as the reason why the NHL added two more teams in California, as well as franchises across the Sun Belt over the next decade as they expanded hockey’s presence across the country.
But what if things turned out differently?
Oilers owner Peter Pocklington wanted to trade Gretzky, despite leading the franchise to four Stanley Cup victories, but it did not have to be to Los Angeles.
In 2016, Gretzky revealed that the Philadelphia Flyers were one of three teams where he would have accepted a trade to that summer.
Gretzky had a great relationship with Flyers owner Ed Snider and the Flyers had young assets they could deal. It very well could have happened and the domino effect would have likely extended beyond the world of sports and all the way to … Dawson’s Creek?
RADIO.COM Sports created an alternate timeline of the potential impact that the “The Great One” would have had donning orange and black in the city of Brotherly Love.
In this alternate universe, the Flyers reign supreme in the late 80s and early 90s, hockey never catches on in the West Coast or Sun Belt, “The Mighty Ducks” movies are never made, actor Joshua Jackson never gets his breakout role as Charlie Conway, and thus, fails to be cast in the drama "Dawson’s Creek."
The far-reaching impact of "The Great One" knows no bounds.