Wayne Gretzky’s Life and Career in the Hockey Rink
Known as “The Great One,” Wayne Douglas Gretzky made NHL history over his twenty-one-year career and set himself apart as one of the most accomplished professional athletes. Born in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, Wayne started playing junior hockey at a young age. At age seventeen, the World Hockey Association drafted Wayne for the Indianapolis Racers; the WHA eventually folded, and marketplace semarang Wayne’s next team, the Edmonton Oilers, joined the National Hockey League.
After playing for the Oilers for a decade and breaking NHL records, the league traded Wayne to the Los Angeles Kings, and he played for them from 1988–1996. In 1996, he played for the St. Louis Blues before heading to the New York Rangers as a free agent. He gave three years to that team before ending his superstar NHL career. Heralded as one of the best ice hockey players of all time, the Hockey Hall of Fame admitted Wayne upon retirement in 1999, having led his teams to four Stanley Cup championships. Wayne was the head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes, where he broke multiple scoring records. He also worked on numerous Winter Olympics hockey teams.
Throughout his long career, Wayne Gretzky consistently led his teams to playoffs and Stanley Cup finals, breaking records and earning status as one of the greatest hockey players ever. The NHL retired his jersey number, 99, before the 2000 NHL All-Star Game. Here are some fast facts:
- At first, he was small for a pro hockey team. Wayne was on the lighter side for an NHL player. When he started, he was 160 pounds, compared to the average 189 pounds at the time. Still, he quickly showed his dexterity, agility, and intelligence on the ice, performing in his first year as a top scorer. Goalies were often surprised by how strong his shots were.
- He broke assists and points records. Across his NHL seasons, Wayne broke Bobby Orr’s record for assists in a single season and Gordie Howe’s career goal-scoring record. Wayne broke a single-game playoff record with five assists in the first game of the 1981 Stanley Cup playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens. He also holds the record for the most goals scored across an NHL career in the regular seasons: 894.
- He was MVP his first NHL season. For his first season in the NHL, from 1979–1980, the league awarded Wayne the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player. Wayne won this award nine times in his career.
- He won the Art Ross trophy for seven consecutive seasons. From 1980–1987, the NHL awarded Wayne the Art Ross trophy, an award for the hockey player who leads the league in points at the end of the regular season.
- He worked with the Winter Olympics. Wayne served as executive director of the Canadian men’s hockey team at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, and in the 2006 games in Turin, Italy. He was also Special Advisor to Canada’s men’s hockey team at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.