"The Great One" Gretzky was born on January 26, 1961
in the town of Brantford, Ontario, Canada.
learned to play hockey in a backyard rink with his father Walter.
Even at the young age of eleven, Wayne Gretzky raised eyebrows
by collecting 517 points in a season. As a seventeen year old
in 1978, he led team Canada to a bronze medal in the World Junior
championship, leading the tournament with 17 points in six games.
Gretzky began his professional career with the Indianapolis Racers
of the World Hockey Association (WHA) in 1978. He was traded to
the Edmonton Oilers in 1978-79 and began his National Hockey League
(NHL) career when the Edmonton Oilers moved from the WHA to the
National Hockey League in the 1979-80 season. Gretzky scintilated
fans in his first year, scoring 137 points but missed the Art
Ross Trophy as Marcel Dionne had one more goal. But the eighteen
year old was awarded the Hart Memorial trophy as the most valuable
player in the NHL.
Gretzky would go on to win seven straight Art Ross Trophies, and
ten in total. He broke and set records for most goals in a season
(92), assists (163) and points (215). He also led the Edmonton
Oilers to four Stanley Cup Championships (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988),
notching two Conn Smythe trophies as playoff MVP, along the way.
Grtezky is also remembered for his play in the 1987 Canada Cup
final that landed Team Canada the gold medal. His pass to a streaking
Mario Lemieux led to the game winning goal, late in the third
period. Wayne's career in Edmonton came to an end in 1988 when
he was traded to the Los Angles Kings. The oilers might have had
little choice due to their financial woes, but hockey fans in
Canada were in a state of shock.
went to Los Angles along with Mike Krushelnyski and Marty McSorley
for Jummy Carson, Martin Gelinas, three first round draft picks
and cash. Edmonton's loss was certainly LA's gain as Gretzky ushered
in a new era for hockey in Southern California. He surpassed Gordie
Howe's records of all-time goals and points leader and had a very
successful seven year stint in LA.
In 1993 he
led the Kings team all the way to the Stanley Cup final, where
they lost to the Montreal Canadiens. In 1994 Gretzky went on to
break Gordie Howe's record of most goals scored when he notched
his 802nd NHL regular season goal. At the trade deadline in 1996
he was traded to the St. Louis Blues for Craig Johnson, Roman
Vopat, Patrice Tardiff and two draft picks. Wayne Gretzky would
only be a Blue for the remainder of the 1996-97 season as he signed
on with the New York Rangers as an unrestricted free agent and
retired in 1999.