Did your wide-eyed childhood hockey fan years land in the 1980s and 1990s? If you’re nostalgic for Blades of Steel and Rock ’Em Sock ’Em VHS tapes, you also probably remember one magical Saturday night in May 1989. Wayne Gretzky was the greatest hockey player alive, but his L.A. Kings had been swept by the Calgary Flames in Round 2 of the playoffs. With his schedule clear, he was available to host Saturday Night Live.
Gretzky’s one and only SNL appearance will never be confused with a Steve Martin or Alec Baldwin gig. Gretzky gets credit for effort and courage, but many of the skits cheesily shoehorned in hockey themes, seemingly in an effort make him more comfortable. But his performance didn’t really matter. This was still an NHL player hosting a major national TV show in a role typical...
About the Author
Matt Larkin is a senior writer at The Hockey News and has been part of the team since 2011. He's your one-stop shop for deep-dive player interviews, predictions, statistics, fantasy player rankings, player safety and hair tips. Catch him weekly as host of The Hockey News Live and The Hockey News Podcast.