Friday, February 22, 2002
Belarus is in Gretzky's blood
By BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun
SALT LAKE CITY -- If you think Wayne Gretzky was surprised Belarus made it to today's Olympic semi-final, he was even more shocked to learn his ancestors are from the country.
Asked if his grandfather Anthony emigrated to North America from Belarus yesterday, Gretzky wasn't sure and told reporters that his father Walter Gretzky's father had originally moved to Chicago from "White Russia."
"White Russia ... that's Belarus," he was told by a reporter.
"There you go," said Gretzky. "I didn't know that. I thought he was from Russia. The only thing I ever remember about my grandfather and Russia is watching the 1972 (Summit) Series with him. But that's about all."
People from Belarus were shocked to hear the news Gretzky has such a background.
Told of the story by Canadian reporters, Belarus TV host Vladimir Novitski was prepared to call in the scoop to his country.
"This is huge news," said Novitski. "I will include it in my report tomorrow."
Trying to find out where Novitski stands on the scale of broadcasters in the tiny country of Belarus, a reporter asked if he was the John Madden of that country.
Novitski answered: "I'm a humble guy, but yes."
Team Canada G Martin Brodeur says he doesn't know anything about criticism of the club during the Olympics because he hasn't heard any of it. Brodeur was asked if he expected the reaction would be the same as it was in Sweden if the country was beaten by Belarus. The Swedish players were whipped by the press there yesterday following a 4-3 loss to Belarus. "I don't know. I haven't heard any of it," he said. "I live in New Jersey. I just stay away from the stuff. I didn't hear any of it before I came here and I probably won't hear any of it when I get back."
SWAP TALK HEATING UP:
There's talk Anaheim RW Marty McInnis and D Jason York could be dealt to the Boston Bruins as part of a trade that would send LW Rob Zamuner to the Mighty Ducks. Last month, Ducks GM Pierre Gauthier sent out a list of 10 players he'd like to move, which included York and McInnis. Zamuner was signed as a free agent in the off-season, but has seen only limited playing time. The indications are the Bruins would have to include more in the package.
2002 Games Men's Hockey Coverage