August 9, 1988 will forever be known as the day Wayne Gretzky was traded to Los Angeles. However, that isn’t where the story ended. Eight years later, the Great One was traded out of town in exchange for a package of players — including Craig Johnson, Patrice Tardif, and Roman Vopat — along with a first round draft pick.
In December 2019, Vopat was invited to join Kings Of The Podcast for an interview and he did not disappoint.
Along with a myriad of other topics discussed during the interview, the trade was a central theme and provided Vopat the opportunity to share some rather raw thoughts and fascinating insight into that portion of his life.
Here’s a small sample:
Vopat on the overall experience of getting the news he’d been traded to Los Angeles – “Well, I was in juniors back then. When I got sent down from St. Louis, I got sent to Moose Jaw [WHL] where I began my junior career. Curtis Brown and Ryan Smyth got traded from Moose Jaw to Prince Albert, so I was in PA at the time. I recall, quite frankly, like it was happening last night. Sam McMaster [LA Kings GM] called me and I thought it was a joke that Curtis Brown was playing on me. So, I hung up the phone. Five minutes later, I get a phone call again and it was Sam McMaster again. He said, “You just hung up on me,” and I said “Oh my God!” I thought, you know, I knew right away I probably got traded or something. Once he mentioned I got traded for Wayne Gretzky, I thought it was a joke. But, I never really saw it coming, that I could be part, a piece, of a trade for the greatest player of all-time. It was just really, surreal. [I thought,] I guess I’m gonna go to camp and prove that LA made the right choice by the move and that’s what my concentration was on that offseason.”
Some of the other items discussed during the show:
– More from Vopat on the trade, the Flyers, his disdain for the game, etc.
– Personal memories of Gretzky’s final roadtrip with the Kings
– Jersey Numerology and some weird notes on No. 12
Listen to the show for free using the audio player below or check us out on all the major podcast platforms, including: Audioboom, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Apple Podcast, Tune In, Radio.com, and many more.