You’re skating up the ice with the puck in front of you, and the goal is in sight. An opening appears and you’re lining up the shot, when WHAM! Out of nowhere, a body slam from the opposing team’s Number 99 checks your dreams of hockey glory. Wait—Number 99? Yes, that was Wayne Gretzky, the Great One himself, on the ice with you.
Wayne Gretzky Hockey Fantasy Camp, an intensive retreat for hockey fanatics, takes a group of puckheads and over the course of 4 days molds them in the image of Gretzky himself—or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Held annually in the Phoenix area, the camp is limited to 72 players in order to ensure plenty of ice time, as well as one-on-one coaching from some of the best players in the history of the sport. (We’re talking about legends like Theo Fleury, Larry Robinson, Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Barry Melrose, Ed Mio, and Gretzky’s brother Walter.) Players are divided into teams based on skill levels and experience, and all teams will play at least one game with Gretzky.
Skating with the Great One doesn’t come cheaply. The camp costs $9,999 but includes plenty of perks: hotel accommodations in sunny Scottsdale, custom jerseys, sticks and gloves, a video of your game with Gretzky, and plenty of ice time for drills and games at Alltel Ice Den, home of the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes. The final evening includes watching a Coyotes game from the luxury of Gretzky’s private box. Perhaps best of all, a portion of the proceeds from the camp benefits the Wayne Gretzky Foundation, which supports hockey training equipment and league play for underprivileged youth. —ML
Wayne Gretzky Fantasy Camp ( 888/901-7529; www.gretzky.com/fantasycamp).
When to Go: Feb (check website for exact dates).
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
$$$ Resort Suites of Scottsdale, 7677 E. Princess Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ( 888/222-1059; www.resortsuites.com).