At the end of each, look for the code PTH, which indicates the content appears exclusively in the complete biography, and/or the code THA, which indicates that content appears in the mini-book I’d Trade Him Again as well as the larger biography, The Puck Talks Here.
Part 1: Peter and Eva Pocklington go for dinner at their favourite restaurant, little suspecting that, by the time the evening is over, Peter will own part of a hockey team and Eva’s jewellery collection will be short one ring. PTH, THA
Part 2: Owning the Oilers is the realization of a dream that began in London, Ontario, where the young Peter Pocklington grew up. Before the age of 30, Peter was well on his way to amassing a fortune. PTH
Part 3: The World Hockey Association provides the foundation Peter Pocklington needs to build a first-class hockey organization — and to charge Glen Sather with the responsibility for forging a championship team. PTH, THA
Part 4: ‘Hockey’s newest superstar. He’s 11’ Peter Pocklington says he probably paid too much to acquire the rights to Wayne Gretzky. So why does he do it, especially after the Winnipeg Jets had already cast doubt on the kid’s worth? “Why do I do a lot of things?” he asks. “If your mind is open and you’re ready to take the risk, what’s the downside?” PTH, THA
Part 5: ‘Whatever your passion, you have to go for it’ Pocklington’s business empire grows in both size and stature, while he clings to the parts of his life that are most important to him: his wife, his family, his friends, and the occasional friendly game of backgammon. Yet in the end, it’s his ownership of the Oilers that gets him that elusive reservation at a popular restaurant. PTH
Part 6: ‘Holy mackerel, these guys have potential’
Q: Dear Hockey Nut, who is the best right-winger in hockey?
A: Without a doubt, it’s Peter Pocklington.
Part 7: ‘I thought I was bullet proof, until I was shot’ Peter Pocklington thinks he leads a charmed existence. Fate and a Yugoslav immigrant with a gun, an attitude and a plan are about to prove him wrong. PTH
Part 8: ‘I was Don Quixote, tilting at windmills’ Despairing for his country given the “socialist” policies of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and inspired by the prospects for the Progressive Conservative Party to form the next government, Peter Pocklington embraces politics and declares himself a candidate for the PC leadership. PTH
Part 9: Peter Pocklington’s life and career have known only success and acclaim. Then, in the span of one year, his good fortune takes a turn for the worse. Peter’s critics — with a measure of justification — say he is the one to blame. He begs to differ. PTH
Part 10: ‘There is a difference between sports guys and other business guys’ If Peter Pocklington was living a charmed life, the charm is beginning to run out by 1986. He is beset with financial woes that, at first blush, are not of his making: a supplier governed more by ideology than economics, a hostile union and a duplicitous government. PTH
Part 11: ‘I was captured by bandidos for three days. That was fun’ Peter Pocklington makes a name for himself as the owner of a professional hockey team, but he is also the proprietor of one of the most successful franchises in the history of minor-league baseball. Then there is his love of speed. PTH
Part 12: ‘George Bush fished here with his pal, Peter Pocklington’ Peter makes many friends in Edmonton, but he also makes them easily in places that are, figuratively if not literally, a world away. These friendships become not only the stuff of memories, they afford Peter the luxury of being a benefactor for the city he loves to calls home. PTH
Part 13: The trade. The sale. The sellout. The deal to move Wayne Gretzky to sunny California is viewed many different ways by Canadian hockey fans — few of them positive. So why do it? What’s to be gained? To hear Peter Pocklington tell it, a lot. PTH, THA
Part 14: ‘All good things have to come to an end, I guess’ Wayne Gretzky may lose his composure when it’s announced he is leaving Edmonton for the Los Angeles Kings but, in the end, he is the only one who keeps his head. PTH, THA
Part 15: When Peter Pocklington first pondered the idea of selling Wayne Gretzky, his friends told him he’d be in for a rough ride. He quickly discovers they didn’t know the half of it. Meanwhile, Wayne Gretzky begins to second-guess himself, while Glen Sather is faced with the task of rebuilding a championship team. PTH, THA
Part 16: Wayne Gretzky has been traded to Los Angeles and the Oilers face the task of winning without him. Competitive fires ensure other leaders step to the fore, yet even so, the owner soon recognizes he cannot keep hockey’s best team together. PTH
Part 17: The Oilers can no longer afford their stable of stars and have parcelled them off to teams that are eager to have them and have the resources to pay them. Yet the players who replace the stars inspire little but indifference from the public. Soon, Peter Pocklington is faced with a decision: make a go of it in Edmonton or seek out another market for his team. PTH
Part 18: ‘Losing the Oilers was like having my heart torn out’ For the first time in a decade, the Oilers can look to the future with optimism. So, too, can Peter Pocklington. But that optimism is short-lived. It soon becomes apparent his bank doesn’t share that optimism and is ready to take the steps to put Peter out of business. PTH
Part 19: ‘You can’t live in the past’ The time comes for Peter Pocklington to say goodbye to the Oilers and to the city he has called home for close to three decades. Yet, while a new life in California beckons, so does the old game he has come to love and the desire to do it all once more, with feeling. PTH
Part 20: Peter Pocklington had left Canada for what he hoped would be greener pastures in the United States. Yet he eventually discovers that America’s take-no-prisoners capitalism is difficult for even an ardent free-enterpriser like him to stomach. PTH
Part 21: ‘It’s not what you achieve in this life; it’s what you overcome’ An early morning knock on the door lands Peter Pocklington in a California jail cell and on the front pages of newspapers across Canada. But the experience fills him with not only the resolve to restore his reputation, but also an appreciation for the friends who pledge to help him overcome what may be his greatest challenge of all. PTH