What's in a Name? for the Wolves' Brent Gretzky - Wayne Gretzky's Brother - It Means Heightened Expectations

By Pitts, Brian | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), February 16, 1999 | Go to article overview

What's in a Name? for the Wolves' Brent Gretzky - Wayne Gretzky's Brother - It Means Heightened Expectations


Pitts, Brian, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Brian Pitts Daily Herald Correspondent

As the old adage goes, it's not what you know, it's who you know. For Wolves center Brent Gretzky, that's kind of the case, but not exactly.

Brent is the younger brother of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, but don't think the most famous last name in hockey alone earns him an automatic berth to the all-star game or a free pass to the International Hockey League finals.

"Sometimes my name will get my foot in the door, but like everybody else, I've got to perform every night the best I can," Gretzky said. "I just have to play hard."

Since being acquired on Jan. 5 from the Asheville Smoke of the United Hockey League, Gretzky has given the Wolves a big lift despite being thrown into a tough situation. He was signed to add some scoring punch when all-star centerman Steve Larouche went down with a season-ending knee injury in late December.

In 16 games with the Wolves, Gretzky has 6 goals and 14 points. Having to fill big shoes is nothing new for Gretzky. He may be 12 years younger than his brother, but as one can expect, that last name bears a lot of responsibility.

"Having Gretzky on the back of your shirt - there is a tremendous amount of expectation," said Wolves coach John Anderson. "All of us have challenges to deal with in life and one of those things for him is his name. That's a bonus for him because that makes him be better all the time.

"Everybody is watching. He's used to pressure situations. That's why we put him on the No. 1 line right away."

Gretzky says he didn't feel any extra pressure growing up - except for the pressure he put on himself to succeed.

"If there was any pressure put on me, it was to play every game as well as I can and help my team out," he said. "I never really thought about being his brother and putting pressure on myself for that reason."

Anderson, a former winger for the Toronto Maple Leafs who played against both Gretzkys, sees similarities in the brothers' skating.

Brent admits to having picked up a move or two from his brother. …

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