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Wayne Gretzky

Wayne "The Great One" Gretzky was born on January 26, 1961 in the town of Brantford, Ontario, Canada.

He 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.

Wayne 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.

Wayne Gretzky 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.



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