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A future in the game

Friday, 02.11.2011 / 6:35 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / Gretzky in Vegas

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Gretzky in Vegas
A future in the game
LAS VEGAS -- Jesse Brewer is 4 years old and he lives in a city, Las Vegas, that doesn't have an NHL team but still he can name 15 teams in the League and proudly roots for the Los Angeles Kings. Jesse also knows who Wayne Gretzky, which is why it was such a thrill for him to have his blue helmet signed by The Great One on Friday.

Since he's 4, Jesse obviously didn't provide the fullest quotes when I asked him what it was like to get Gretzky's autograph, but the smile on his face was all we needed to see.

Jesse's father, Justin, who nearly broke my computer on Thursday when he kicked the cord, was as excited for his little boy. Justin is trying to teach Jesse about the game and says he's getting there. He called him a little rink rat.

Gretzky noticed that, too. When Jesse approached him for the autograph -- he was the first of many kids at the Las Vegas Ice Center who got The Great One's to sign something -- Gretzky said, "I saw you here yesterday, don't you go to school?" Jesse quickly said no and Justin chimed in that he already graduated.

It drew a good laugh from the people surrounding Gretzky, who was sitting on a picnic table in between the two rinks here at the rink and was immediately mobbed by humbled kids looking to get the greatest signature in hockey.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
Quote of the Day

Hopefully [Jonathan] has a year that pushes us, that is the organization, to speak to him next summer and looking for [a long-term contract]. Because the thought process is trying to get a goaltender, and hopefully it's Jonathan, to be the stabilizer for this franchise.

— Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello on goaltender Jonathan Bernier