Wayne Douglas Gretzky CC, born January 26, 1961, is a former professional ice hockey player and head coach from Canada. From 1979 to 1999, he played 20 seasons in the National Hockey League for four different teams. Many sportswriters, players, and the N.H.L. itself have labeled him as the “greatest hockey player ever.” Gretzky is the N.H.L.’s all-time leading goal scorer, and point scorer, with more assists in his career than any other player. This is one iconic sportsman we are glad to be celebrating.
Wayne Douglas Gretzky
The Great One
January 26, 1961
Wayne Douglas Gretzky CC was born on January 26, 1961, in Ontario, Canada to Walter Gretzky and Phyllis Leone. The family had five children, and they all played hockey as toddlers. By the time Gretzky turned six, he was playing hockey alongside the teenagers in his locale. In 1977, he was the third pick in the midget draft for the Ontario Major Junior Hockey League where he played for Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. His impressive performance at the World Junior Championship in 1978 propelled him toward the big league.
Despite age restrictions, Gretzky played his first official N.H.L. season in 1979. With a remarkable performance, he proved his naysayers wrong and went on to win the league’s Most Valuable Player award, scoring a magnificent 137 points. By 1986, he had become one of the best players in terms of scoring goals and points. He finished the season with a record of 52 goals and 163 assists, ranking him among the world’s finest ice hockey players. His abilities on the hockey field earned him celebrity status among his countrymen, and the Canadian government didn’t shy away from showering him with honors and awards. Gretzky was honored with the Officer of the Order of Canada, which is among the highest Canadian civilian honors. He continued performing well for the Edmonton Oilers, before being traded to Los Angeles Kings for some cash which came across as a shocker to many. There were rumors that Gretzky had persuaded the Edmonton Oilers to proceed with the trade so that he could support his wife, who was a struggling actress. During the 1988 season, Gretzky made his N.H.L. debut for the L.A. Kings. For the first season, he was appointed alternate captain. Despite his lackluster performance, he was still regarded as one of the league’s greatest players. He had to leave L.A. Kings to join St. Louis Blues in 1996. He just played one season for them. He had lost his magical touch by this point. The next year, he joined the New York Rangers, where he played for three seasons before retiring from the game. In 1997, he helped his side reach the Eastern Conference Finals, but they were defeated by the Philadelphia Flyers. In his final season, 1998-99, he shattered Goldie Howe’s goal-scoring record of 1,071 goals.
After announcing his retirement in 1999, as expected, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. In 2000, he bought a 10% stake in the Phoenix Coyotes and took on the roles of head of hockey operations and managing partner. He served as the head coach of the team from 2001 to 2009. In October 2016, he became the vice-chairman and partner of Oilers Entertainment Group. Presently, he operates his own restaurant business in Canada. Gretzky has appeared on television many times, including his stint as a judge on a show titled “Dance Fever.” On the set of the show, he met actress Janet Jones. In July 1988, the couple got married and they now have five children. He has also written many books, including “99: Stories of the Game,” which was co-authored by Kirstie McLellan Day and published in 2016.
As an underage youngster, Wayne Gretzky signed a multi-year contract with the Indianapolis Racers.
Despite age restrictions, Gretzky plays his first official N.H.L. season collecting his first N.H.L. point.
Gretzky is appointed an officer of the Order of Canada for his extraordinary contribution to the sport of hockey.
After announcing his retirement in 1999, Gretzky is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Gretzky buys a 10% stake in Phoenix Coyotes and takes on the roles of head of hockey operations and managing partner.
Why We Love Wayne Gretzky
He was born for sports
Some professional athletes begin their careers very late in life, beginning in their sport throughout their adolescence and quickly developing until they make it to the major leagues. Others, on the other hand, appear to have been destined for athletic superstardom from the start, having laced up their cleats before they could walk. Wayne Gretzky is one of the latter, having begun skating at the age of two and began playing hockey at six years old with boys twice his age.
He is an Aquarius
Aquarius people are recognized to be humanitarians and highly giving people. Gretzky is well-known for his philanthropic endeavors and has always made time to help others. They're also recognized for being intelligent and original, and given that Gretzky pretty much pioneered a new technique of skating where the puck would be, we'll give him that as well.
It appears that the people of Ontario are particularly fond of ‘The Great One’ — there are reportedly 50 books about Gretzky in the Toronto Public Library system. Sure, there are probably one or two biographies in there, but 50? That implies he's likely to be mentioned in other hockey players' biographies, sports anthologies, and other publications. For a regular man from Brantford, that's outstanding!
5 Surprising Facts
His name was misspelled
Several times in the 1980s, "The Star" and former Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington referred to him as ‘Gretsky.’
He appeared in a soap opera
Though his schedule was jam-packed with games and sponsorships, when the soap opera "The Young and the Restless" was called in 1981, Wayne Gretzky was more than delighted to carve out time for a brief cameo.
He holds dual citizenship
Aside from being a Canadian citizen, he also holds an American passport.
His favorite hockey player
Gretzky’s favorite hockey player is Gordie Howe.
He started skating at two
The hockey sportsman started skating at just two years old!
Wayne Gretzky FAQs
Whose record did Wayne Gretzky break?
He broke the 100-point record for assists and goals of Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito, respectively, in 1982 when he ended the season with a 200-point mark.
How many Stanley Cups did Wayne Gretzky win?
Wayne Gretzky won four Stanley Cups.
What is Wayne Gretzky's famous quote?
“When you win, say nothing. When you lose, say less.”
Wayne Gretzky’s birthday dates