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Gretzky spotted in enemy territory signing autographs, sporting Breitling bling

May 30, 2014 Leave a comment

 

While one of his NHL alumnus has already advanced to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, another still waits to earn their berth to the very same dance with the New York Rangers. But in a game so littered with gratuitous superstition, former LA Kings captain and club’s all-time single season assists and points leader Wayne Gretzky was recently spotted rubbing elbows in a Chicago jewelry store. Unless Wayne had a sabotage of Blackhawks players planned and was using this appearance as a clever diversion, the Windy City is probably not a place Kings fans would want him to be while LA jousts with Chicago for the 2014 Western Conference title.

But conspiracy theories aside, here’s the scoop on what Gretz was doing at Razny Jewelers in Chicago:

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From Left to Right: Breitling USA President Thierry Prissert, Wayne Gretzky, Ingrid and Stan Razny

BREITLING HOSTS HOCKEY GREAT WAYNE GRETZKY AT EXCLUSIVE EVENT AT RAZNY JEWELERS
Guests Meet ‘The Great One’ and View Newest Timepieces from Breitling

Wilton, Conn. (May 27, 2014) – Breitling, the Swiss watch manufacturer, celebrated the expanded collection of Breitling timepieces available at Razny Jewelers with a special evening with friend and fan of the brand, Wayne Gretzky. Guests came from all over Chicago to see the newest Breitling watches – direct from their global debut at this year’s Baselworld – and to pose with the hockey legend while enjoying canapés and cocktails.

“It is a pleasure to be here in Chicago with Stan Razny and Wayne Gretzky. Both are legends in their own right,” said Breitling USA President Thierry Prissert. “Razny Jewelers is a family-owned business, like Breitling, and a longtime supporter of the brand. We are thrilled that they recently expanded their entire Breitling collection into a new corner of the store.”

Guests were able to view pieces from Breitling’s latest collection, including the Chronomat Airborne, making its worldwide debut in the United States, the Navitimer 01 46mm, the Navitimer GMT and the Breitling for Bentley GMT Light Body B04. Each of the new watches houses a Breitling Manufacture movement, has a five-year warranty and is chronometer-certified by the COSC, the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute.

“I’ve been a huge Breitling enthusiast for many years, so it was wonderful to join them tonight to see the new collection of watches and meet some of my fans at Razny Jewelers. Chicago is a great hockey town and I know they look forward to some great games in the playoffs,” said Gretzky, a hockey hall-of-fame athlete.

ABOUT BREITLING: A specialist of technical watches, Breitling has played a crucial role in the development of the wrist chronograph and is a leader in this complication. Léon Breitling founded the company in 1884 in St. Imier, Switzerland, and chose to devote himself to the exclusive and demanding field of chronographs and timers. Breitling developed the first independent chronograph pushpiece in 1915 and then added the second pushpiece in 1934 to complete the final configuration of the modern
chronograph. In 1969, the brand introduced the first self-winding chronograph movement. Today Breitling is the world’s only major watch brand to equip all its models with chronometer-certified movements, the ultimate token of precision. Breitling is one of the rare companies to produce its own mechanical chronograph movement, entirely developed and manufactured in its state-of-the-art workshops with its quality guaranteed by an unprecedented five-year warranty. This family business is also one of the last remaining independent Swiss watch brands, celebrating its 130-year anniversary this year in 2014.

watches

ABOUT RAZNY JEWELERS: Razny Jewelers is family owned and operated. The Razny family represents the world’s top brands and offers custom creations. Razny Jewelers is always on the cutting edge showcasing the brightest stars in the jewelry and Fine Swiss Timepieces’ world. For over 60 years, Razny Jewelers has defined the essence of what a fine jewelry store should be to their clientele. Razny Jewelers is dedicated to the best combination of old-world and modern values. They are one of the only jewelers in the Chicago area that fabricates custom creations truly by hand. With several bench jewelers on staff, custom jewelry remains their specialty. Their careful attention to perfection and unrivaled craftsmanship turns dreams into reality. In addition, Razny Jewelers has Certified WOSTEP Watchmakers on premises to service your timepiece requirements. Razny Jewelers’ integrity, honesty and commitment to unparalleled personal service bring their customers back time after time. Razny Jewelers are located in Addison, Highland Park and Hinsdale.

ABOUT WAYNE GRETZKY: The greatest ice hockey player of all time has been a Breitling ambassador since 2011, Canadian-born, Wayne Gretzky is a living legend in the world of ice hockey. He is renowned for his professionalism and his fair play. He also has a record-breaking list of achievements to his credit, including four Stanley Cup Championships, 61 NHL records, and being named 18 times to the All-Star teams. In tribute to his absolute superiority, his famous jersey number, 99, has been retired by all NHL teams.

CONTACT FOR HIGH-RESOLUTION IMAGES AND MORE INFORMATION:
Centigrade for Breitling / Lindsay Paterson / lindsay.paterson@centigrade.com

T +1 323 556 8854 Extn 41154 M +1 949 204 7059

W centigrade.com   T twitter.com/centigradeworld   F facebook.com/centigradeworld

Centigrade, Inc. 8383 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 350, Beverly Hills, CA 90211 US

Hockey Talkie: Winnipeg Jets, Draft, Oilers – Smyth, Taylor/Tyler Trump, and the Creepy Keeper of The Cup.

June 24, 2011 2 comments

Do you remember in 1994 when the unnamed Baltimore franchise competed in the CFL, and then won the Grey Cup the following year? It looked like we might be getting to that point with the “Winnipeg NHL franchise”, until mercifully, they officially introduced themselves as the Winnipeg Jets at the 2011 Draft. Great move. I understand the arguments to have called the team other things to be more provincially inclusive, or go in a different direction; but in the end, the team did the right thing – they gave the people what they wanted. Gonna be awkward when the Phoenix Coyotes play their first game at the MTS Centre though. Now all they have to do is swindle Teemu Selanne out of Anaheim and they’ll be set. Also, jerseys and a logo would be nice.

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On the heels of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, and with last year’s #1 overall, Taylor Hall, ascending the podium with the Oilers brass to announce the first overall pick, I had a thought a while back….with a Stanley Cup ring in his first year in the league, did Tyler Seguin check-and-mate the Taylor vs Tyler debate? Seems like the ultimate trump card, does it not? These guys are going to have long, successful careers in the league, and the debate will probably live on for years, but at this point, Taylor’s got a whole lot of catch-up to play; especially while still a member of the cellar-dwelling (albeit youthful talent laden) Oilers.

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Speaking of the Oilers…. You know you’re either Canadian or just plain nuts when you voluntarily request to move from +30° C LA beach weather to -30° C Alberta blizzard weather, as Ryan Smyth is trying to wiggle his way back to Edmonton. I really respect what Smyth has done in the NHL, and for team Canada and all, but where does he get this crazy notion he can play for anyone he wants to? Even though he’s following all Wayne’s team footsteps, Gretzky went where he was told in the end (PS – you should watch ESPN’s 30 for 30 “Kings Ransom” on the Gretzky trade for that whole story). It just seems a little arrogant for Smyth, which is extremely out of character. With LA nabbing Richards from Philly, I’m sure the Kings aren’t exactly clambering to pick up the pieces after his departure. It’s too bad, because he was one of LA’s more productive players last season, right into their playoff run.

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Good to see the Columbus Blue Jackets finally acquiring some talent to help out Rick Nash from doing everything.  I was seriously thinking of starting a FREE RICK NASH campaign to try and get him traded to team with a chance to win, but with these latest developments, I may have to sit on that one for a little longer.

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Phil Pritchard, aka the” Keeper Of The Cup” sure does polish the Stanley Cup a disturbing, creepy amount, wouldn’t you say? The guy is with the trophy every day of his life; have you ever seen him not rubbing that Cup down with that little grin on his face? I thought he might go all Smeagol/Gollum and run out and stab Zdeno Chara this year after Bettman took the Cup away from him and gave it to the Bruins’ captain. He probably could’ve claimed the riot tweaked him out, and gotten away with it.

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Brad Marchand is the NHL’s new Claude Lemieux, pest/irritation wise. With those babyface red cheeks of his and inability to grow facial hair, perhaps just less assuming, but just as ratty.

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And lastly, even if you didn’t like the outcome of the Stanley Cup Final, you gotta agree, seeing that Stanley Cup hoisted is absolutely extraordinary. What an exclamation point of a literal life-long journey for those fortunate enough to win it. The most difficult trophy in sports to win, and the biggest and most impressive looking for a reason. I wonder if any of this year’s draft picks will be lifting the grail above their heads, ala Tyler Seguin, at the conclusion of next season?

NFL Inquiries, Trophy Triviality, and the Business that is Pro Football.

February 10, 2010 6 comments

A few thoughts on football before people’s caring about it completely drifts away until next season…

First, of course a tip of the cap to the Saints for winning the Superbowl.  I’m not anywhere near the first person to make this observation, but New Orleans was in need of something to celebrate since the Hurricane there.  Enjoy the “Lombardi Gras(awesome name)”, New Orleans!

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Now that we’re in the TiVO age, the Superbowl is the only television broadcast (possibly) in history that people will actually fast-forward the content in order to get to the commercials.  $3 million dollars for 30 seconds this year.  Here’s the best one that I saw:

So all the winners of any championship are on the field decked out in their new championship shirts and hats.  Obviously they had that stuff printed up prior to the win, and they must’ve made stuff for both teams (especially in a 1 game showdown for all the marbles, like in football).  So I’m wondering, where do all the printed shirts and hats go of the team that didn’t win the championship?  Is it carted off to be incinerated, as to not leave any evidence of its existence?  I’d love to get my hands on the 1993 Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup Champions stuff that never made it to the public.

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The NFL recently adopted the use of captain’s C’s on their jerseys; ala the NHL.  In hockey, this identifies you as a leader, and affords you the ability to converse with referees during the game.  Hockey’s got C’s and A’s; but the NFL has developed some sort of Star Trek star ranking system.  Can any football fans out there clue me in on the responsibilities possessed by NFL captains, and how the ranking system works?

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The fact that headsets allow conversation between Quarterbacks, coaches, and team officials in the press box up top during games seems a little like cheating, doesn’t it?  Shouldn’t the players just play the game as they see it?  What happened to the well-disguised hand signals and mouth covering of baseball? 

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wait your turn, sir.

And finally, is there any more indication that the NFL is a business first, game second, than the fact that the team owner gets to hoist the Lombardi Championship Trophy first, ahead of team captains, and all the players?  I understand the whole “invested interest” thing, but come on man, those guys left it all out on the field to get their hands on that thing (also worked their entire lives to get to play at a level that’s nearly unobtainable by most humans).  Everyone tuned in to watch THE PLAYERS play football.  You paid a bunch of money.  You deserve the hoist too, but let the guys have their fun first.  Also, for how glorified the Superbowl has become, can we get them an adequately sized trophy?  Nothing says, “We’re the best in the world!” like a huge, two-hands-required, over-the-head-hoist, trophy. 

The Stanley Cup is a prime example; with all the engravings of past champs

Gretz, doin' it right.

 and additions of new sections over 100+ years of hockey.  You lift a lot more than that season over your head when you win it; especially considering you have to win 4 seperate 7 game series’ to get it.  The NFL’s just got a shiny football on a stick that you can lift with one hand.  And you can win it in one game.  Which would you rather win?

Seafood Discrimination, Harley Hearing Loss, and Eating Glue.

September 9, 2009 8 comments

What exactly is the deal with “Joey’s Only” seafood restaurants? Are only people named Joey allowed to eat there? If that’s true, what about Joe’s, andjoeys-logo Joseph’s? Do they check ID’s at the counter prior to ordering? That’s gotta be a bad business decision, if it’s what’s going on. Somehow I doubt it. Perhaps does it mean that “Joey” is the inventor, and his place “Only” serves seafood? That seems to make more sense.   The sign really doesn’t make the true explantation clear.  One of these days I’m actually gonna go there and see if they serve me or not.

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Does anyone else take an extra second when they’re eating an apple and they peel off the sticker to consider the fact that they’re going to be eating glue when they get to that section of the apple? Do you give that area an extra buff with your shirt, or just choke it down carefree? How about when you drink a juice box, and you puncture that little circular foil cover with the straw… ever wonder what happens to that piece of foil?

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What’s the appeal of the overly loud and obnoxious motorcycle? Those things make my ears ring from the moment they pass me until the moment I can’t see them anymore, and I’m a distance from them. How deaf does a motorcyclist have to be sitting directly on that noise, after coming home after a day’s ride, or after completing a trip that lasted a few hours?

Sure, you look real tough, wearing all that roasting hot and tight black leather, sporting that little skull helmet that meets about as many safetybiker standard requirements as the Jofa helmet that Gretzky used to wear. Is that the whole payoff? The image? Is it worth holding your arms up like the Karate Kid for extended periods of time, or hunching over on one of those (for lack of a better term) “crotch rockets”? I understand the whole biker subculture thing, and if you’re a legit badass or just love to ride, that’s one thing, but there’s just so many mid-life crises/non badasses out there that I just can’t rationalize the lifestyle change for.

As far as bike brand, you really gotta go Harley or go home. I’m sure there are good competing brands out there; probably some better ones in a lot of aspects, but Harley Davidson’s are the absolute measuring stick when it comes to motorcycles. So if you’re over 40 and looking to “shake things up”, make sure you pony up the whole way. Everyone’s gotta take that road test sometime, wearing the reflective vest, with the car following them. If you’re gonna look like a idiot riding a motorcycle just for one day, better make sure you do it on a legit hog.

Those things are not light either, I almost dropped my dad’s in the garage just sitting stationary on it once, when he used to have one. With that level of investment, I really don’t need that responsibility/insurance liability resting on my infrequent gym appearances.

Personally, I’d much rather sit in a comfy car with a stereo, the ability to hear my passengers, keep bugs out of my face, stay warm, recline, have a drink and set it in a cup holder, not have my vehicle fall over when it’s parked, and to generally lessen my chance of dying. But that’s just me. If bikes are your bag, then ride on…

The Great Gretzky Debacle: Meeting my hero, Wayne.

July 20, 2009 1 comment

I told this story in person the other day, so I decided to re-release it, ala Greatest Hits style.  As a wordpress special bonus, check out the photographic evidence to verify the story! Enjoy.

(originally posted February 18th, 2009)

August 19, 2005.

In preparation for the 2006 Winter Olympics, the Canadian Men’s Hockey Team was having an “orientation camp(still not clear on what that meant, or why they didn’t just call it ‘practice’)” in my hometown of Kelowna BC.  The Executive Director for Team Canada at the time was none other than my boyhood (and if anyone was, I guess current as well) hero, Wayne Gretzky.

Now, let me help you to understand what I mean when I say “hero” here.  I mean from the age that I was aware Gretzky was really good at hockey and played for the LA Kings (circa 1990), I owned jerseys, hockey cards, posters, Halloween costumes, books, shoes, officially endorsed products and equipment, and attempted haircuts in likeness… I was a advertising field day for this man. 

It became my goal to come full circle, and meet my hero.

The tickets had sold out nearly immediately, without my inclusion in the possession or purchase of any of them.  I was working for the Okanagan Hockey School at the time, a school that boasts many NHL alumni as instructors and/or part owners.  They happened to have an in with the orientation camp, and were able to get some of the instructors free passes to the practices.  I immediately snapped 2 passes up to the sold out event.  After work, my brother and I zipped down to Prospera place to take our seats, my old Gretzky LA Kings jersey and Sharpie marker in tow.  We managed to catch the players just heading out onto the ice, so we decided to see if a few of them would autograph some stuff for us.  First out of the gate was Martin Brodeur, pretty much the best goaltender in the world at the time, and pretty high in the all-time record books.  When we asked him to sign, he shrugged us, and the other people standing by the gate, right off.  I didn’t think much of it, thinking, “well it’s just a practice, no big deal.  He’s got all that goalie gear on anyways, it’s probably going to be a huge hassle for him anyways. ”  Following up Brodeur were Ed Jovanovski, Todd Bertuzzi, and the other TWO goalies, Marty Turco and Roberto Luongo.  ALL of which put down their gloves and sticks, and signed stuff for a few minutes until everyone was content.  I decided to think less of Martin Brodeur after that moment.

After heading back to our ticketed seats, a friend who we had ended up sitting near advised me to look to my right.  Heeding the advice, I turned my head, and who would I see, but “The Great One,” himself.  Yes, by all modern calendars, I was 22 years old at the time, but in that moment, I was no more than 10 years old again.  Wayne.was.here.  And I could see him.  I could have thrown something at him if I wanted.  He was sitting in the stands, with his cronies (Kevin Lowe and company), taking notes or something.  Realizing the current environment was no place to make a scene, I decided to keep a watchful eye on his every move, as to not be eluded ( for those wondering, I do not enjoy being eluded).  The ice-session came to an end, and so did Wayne’s viewing.  I really had no ideas as to what to do.  They were sitting in a roped off area, and exited through the back.  Wayne was escaping, and my already small window of opportunity was closing.  I had nothing.  I accepted it, and decided to take off, at least being happy I saw him, however unfulfilled I was truly feeling.   As we made our way out, I took I noticed the “backstage” area, all roped off, with black curtains and everything.  People were surrounding the guard rails, hoping to catch a glimpse of their heros.  I also noticed people walking into the area with the same passes around their necks as ours; the only difference being theirs has “All Access” Sharpie marked on the bottom.  I looked around my neck at my pass.  I looked in my left hand containing a Sharpie marker.   I realized I had one shot at his.

My brother and I ducked behind a corner and I quickly scribbled “All Access” at the bottom of our passes, in the closest handwriting facsimile I could muster.  I managed to catch the attention of a lady heading in, and acted bewildered about the direction I was supposed to go, showing her my pass.  She took a look at it, at me, and said, “come on, I’ll take you in.”   My mouth said humble and appreciative things, and my mind stood in awe of what it had apparently just pulled off.  

normal pass + Sharpie = meet your hero.

normal pass + Sharpie = meet your hero.

I tried my best not to act like an idiot and to try to make it seem like I was supposed to be back there.  But it was tough.  Everyone was back there, Iginla, St. Louis, Lecavalier, Yzerman, Bertuzzi, Sakic, Heatley, Nash, Smyth… everyone.  It was incredible.  Part of my blend-in technique was to see what catering had to offer.   I noticed Ken Hitchcock at the table (cue the jokes), and decided to ask him how he could possibly narrow down this amount of talent to one team’s worth, over some veggies and dip.  He didn’t really give me a straight answer.  I asked Stevey Y how he liked Kelowna, to which he responded he wished he could live here.  He, Iginla, St. Louis, Smyth and Lecavalier all signed my hat, all with smiles on their faces, all classy guys. 

I found a place on the wall and decided just to hang out for a bit.  That’s when I was again advised to turn my head, this time to the left.  Wayne.  I was back in the hunt.  He was signing some sticks for some people.  He finished up and was heading our way.  I immediately started to draw up a mental game plan as to what my move was going to be, not that dis-similiar from the Mr. Bean episode were he meets the queen.  I didn’t want to go into a thing about telling him he was my hero for all these years, yada yada… one part because surely he hears that everyday, another because as aforementioned I was trying not to look like an idiot, and another simply because of time.  I was going to have mere moments to make contact.  I decided on the handshake and autograph request, hopefully with coherent speech.  Again, I knew I was only going to get one shot at this as well.  Wayne ducked into a hallway.  My heart sank momentarily, but then he came back out and was again headed in our direction.  My heart was functioning again.  This was it.  I was in range.  I made eye contact.  I remember at that moment thinking I pictured him being taller.  I stuck out my hand.  Suprisingly and incredibly, he returned the shake, I think a little bewildered himself.  I muttered, “Hi Wayne, can you sign my jersey?” or something of the likes.  He replied, “um…hold on,  I’ll be right back.”  I agreed to the terms and faded back into the wall, hoping to reconvene in the near future.  We waited.   And waited.  We hung out for a little while longer and started to get antsy.  I found Pat Quinn and asked him haphazardly if Wayne was still around.  Pat said Wayne took off.  My heart nearly broke into a million pieces.   

My brother and I took a de-briefing as to the events that had just taken place.  We snuck into somewhere we weren’t allowed.  We met the best hockey players in the world.  I saw Wayne Gretzky, shook his hand, said something to him, and he even replied with a partial sentence to me.  All in all, not a bad day.  I went home all smiles.  Sure Wayne blew me off, but I accomplished my goal and did meet my boyhood hero. 

And that’s how I met Wayne Gretzky. 

Ask my brother Rob if you don’t believe me.

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