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Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Wayne Gretzky

EARLY LIFE

Wayne Gretzky was born on January 26, 1961, to Phyllis and Walter Gretzky. The couple lived in an apartment in Brantford, Ontario, where Walter worked for Bell Telephone Canada.

The family moved into a house on Varadi Avenue in Brantford seven months after Wayne was born, chosen partly because its yard was flat enough to make an ice rink on every winter.

Gretzky's first pair of skates, worn when he was three years old. By Resolute - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, $3

By the age of ten, Wayne had scored an astonishing 378 goals and 139 assists in just one season with the Brantford Nadrofsky Steelers. By now his play was attracting media attention beyond his hometown of Brantford, including a profile by John Iaboni in the Toronto Telegram in October 1971.

NHL CAREER

In 1978, when he was 17, Gretzky began playing as a professional with the Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association (WHA), but was sold to the Edmonton Oilers after only a few games. He was third in WHA scoring and rookie of the year.

The WHA folded in 1979, and the Oilers team joined the National Hockey League. At the age of 19, Gretzky won his first Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player (MVP).

In the 39th game of his third NHL season on December 30, 1981 Wayne Gretzky scored five goals giving him 50 for the year. This set a new NHL record previously held by Maurice Richard and Mike Bossy who earlier had each scored 50 goals in 50 games.

Wayne Gretzky, set a NHL record for consecutive game scoring in 1984, as his streak ended at 51 games. The streak began on October 5, 1983, ending with the L.A. Kings defeating the Edmonton Oilers, 4-2. Gretzky collected 153 points (61 goals and 92 assists) during the run.

Wayne Gretzky scored his 802nd goal on March 23, 1984, breaking Gordie Howe’s NHL record for most goals scored in a career.

When he retired, Grekzky had 2857 career points, over 1000 more than the next highest player. He still holds the record for most career goals (894) and assists (1963).

He played 20 seasons in the NHL for four teams from 1979 to 1999. Nicknamed "The Great One", Grekzsky (photo below by Håkan Dahlström) has been called "the greatest hockey player ever" by many sportswriters, players, and the NHL itself.


Grekzky won the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship and performance five times, and often spoke out against fighting in hockey.

The NHL retired Gretzky's jersey number 99 league-wide, making him the only player to receive this honour

Gretzky was named Canada's male athlete of the 20th century.

Wayne Gretzky at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. By Kris Krüg, CC BY-SA 2.0, $3

Gretzky was named in 1984 an officer of the Order of Canada,  the country's highest honour for a civilian, for outstanding contribution to the sport of hockey. Since the Order ceremonies are always held during the hockey season, it took 13 years and 7 months—and two Governors General—before he could accept the honor.

PERSONAL LIFE

Gretzky married American actress Janet Jones in 1988. They have five children: Paulina, Ty, Trevor, Tristan, and Emma.

Wayne Gretzky was babysitting the future singer Robin Thicke when he found out he was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the L.A. Kings.

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