About 400 angry hockey fans turned out for a rally to discuss buying the Edmonton Oilers from businessman Peter Pocklington because of his decision to trade superstar Wayne Gretzky.
Gretzky fans in this western Canadian city are also boycotting products made by Pocklington's dairy and meat processing businesses.The rally Wednesday night featured a fiery speech by city Alderman Lance White, who is trying to raise $1.2 million by Sunday to pursue possible community ownership of the Oilers.
He was disappointed that only 400 people showed up in the 2,200-seat hall of the city convention center. "I'd rather have the place packed and people screaming in the streets," he said.
He said the Oilers and Gretzky were part of the city's soul and asked, "Is it healthy for our kids to see this sort of thing?"
Many of those at the rally sported black armbands to mourn Gretzky's trade to the Los Angeles Kings last week in a deal that triggered a controversy over whether "The Great One" was forced out by Pocklington while he could still fetch millions in compensation.
Pocklington said the move was Gretzky's choice after his recent marriage to Hollywood starlet Janet Jones, but Gretzky's friends said he never wanted to leave the Oilers.