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At 51, Wayne Gretzky will play in Russia for the first time

Sep 4, 2012, 10:00 AM EDT

gretzkygetty Getty Images

Back when he was in his prime, Wayne Gretzky dreamed of playing against the Soviet Union as part of a new Summit Series.

Gretzky won three gold medals in the Canada Cup, including in 1987 when they defeated the Soviet Union in three games. As the Calgary Sun reported, he felt like the two nations could have play in a new eight-game series with contests spread out among Canada, the United States, Russia, and Europe.

“It really was my aspiration, but I never got the opportunity,” Gretzky said.

Still, he’ll be able to achieve something he never did when he was playing in the NHL. He will join Brett Hull and Mark Messier to play hockey in Russia.

“I was here in ’81 and did a documentary with (Vladislav) Tretiak, but I’ve never played hockey in Russia, and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to come. I never got the chance to play here,” Gretzky said. “This is going to be my chance, although I’m 51 and slow.”

This event has a number of meanings. They will be playing 40 years after the 1972 Summit Series and 25 years after the 1987 Canada Cup. However, it is also a memorial game to honor those who died when a plane carrying the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team crashed last year.

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