Honour meeting Great One-Edmonton Sun

By ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI

David Beckham has always had a special respect and admiration for Wayne Gretzky - one sport-transcending mega-star to another - so he was pretty jacked about meeting him two weeks ago.

"It was a huge honour," said Beckham, who chatted with 99 after a Galaxy home game.

"To meet someone of his calibre, someone at the top of his sport who changed hockey for so many people, to actually meet him was a real honour. I was very proud of that and I've got the picture at home to prove it.

"My son's just started playing ice hockey, too, so it was good."

QUICK CHANGE: It's not often that 37,000 sets of eyes are glued to one guy tying his shoe, but that was the scene nine minutes into the game last night at Commonwealth Stadium when Beckham stopped to change his shoes in the middle of the game.

"I've done it a few times in my career I must admit," he said, adding he didn't check the field before the game.

"I put a hard-ground shoe on because some of the players came in and said it was really hard out there, and then five minutes into the game I felt the rain coming down and I felt like I was slipping so it was important for me to change quickly. It was a quick turnaround."

UMM, ABOUT THAT LOSS: It was only an exhibition game, but losing to a team in a lower league is never fun.

Dropping a 2-1 decision to the Whitecaps smarts a little, but Galaxy coach Ruud Gullit was more intent on taking a look at some of his reserves than posting a win.

"It was a good exhibition for us, it gave us an opportunity to look at players who normally don't play so much," he said. "For the most part I was happy with how they performed."

LOUD AND PROUD: Eduardo Sebrango of the Whitecaps loved the scene last night, with 37,000 getting right into the game. He wondered about their loyalties, though.

"It was great, the only thing is they were cheering for the Galaxy," said Sebrango. "We're all Canadian here. I thought they would cheer for us. But it was great."