For the first time in nearly three decades, the famous Wayne Gretzky statue was moved from Rexall Place Thursday.

The nine foot tall bronze effigy of The Great One was moved from it’s plinth at Rexall Place, for the first time in nearly 27 years.

Back in August, 1989, almost a year after Gretzky was traded, the statue arrived at the then-Coliseum. The sculptor who created the statue talked about the experience.

"It was exciting because nobody was to know what we were doing," Sculptor Don Begg said. "We drove it underneath to unveil it, and there were several people hidin gin dumpsters to see if they could get pictures.

"It was the first statue that had been done with the person still alive, and when Wayne looked at it, he said: 'It's kinda spooky to look at yourself'."

For the workers tasked with taking the famous statue down, the job was exciting, but they were nervous.

“Because of what it is, it’s nerve-wracking to be able to attempt that,” Robbie Heron with PM Signs said.

After noon, the process of moving the statue started with it being rigged up to a crane, and a cut being made to the base of the statue.





Finally, the statue was lifted from the base.



Then, it was loaded into the bed of a pickup truck, for the trip south.



But before the statue is installed in its new home, it will head to the foundry where it was created in Cochrane. There, it will be refurbished, before coming back to Edmonton and its new home at Rogers Place.

There’s no date set for the statue to be installed at the downtown arena, officials with the foundry told CTV News they expect to have the statue for a couple of weeks.

With files from Dan Grummett