|CAREER NHL STATISTICS|
WITH THE OILERS (nine years, 1979-1988)
WITH THE KINGS (eight seasons, 1988-1996)
WITH THE BLUES (end of 1995-96 season only)
WITH THE RANGERS (three years, 1996-1999)
|NHL AWARDS AND HONORS|
Hart Trophy (MVP): 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989
Art Ross Trophy (leading scorer): 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1994
All-Star game: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983 (MVP), 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989 (MVP), 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 (MVP)
Lady Byng Trophy: 1980, 1991, 1992, 1994
Conn Smythe Trophy: 1985, 1988
Postseason All-Star first team: 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1991
Postseason All-Star second team: 1980, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1994, 1997, 1998
|CAREER NHL HIGHLIGHTS|
Missed only eight games due to injuries during his first eight years in Edmonton. Only faced significant injuries in 1992-93, when he missed 39 games with a herniated disc, in 1987-88 when a knee injury sidelined him for 16 games, and again in 1998-99, when he missed 15 games with a sprained neck.
|GRETZKY'S MEMORY LANE|
By the time he was eligible to play major junior hockey in Canada, Gretzky was already a well-known phenom who had dominated minor hockey in Ontario. He began his junior career at age 15, when he had three assists in three games with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League. Drafted by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in 1977, Gretzky spent only one full year in the OHL, scoring 70 goals and 182 points in 64 games.
It was in Sault Ste. Marie that Gretzky first wore the No. 99. He wanted to wear No. 9 in honor of his idol, Gordie Howe, but that number was already taken by teammate Brian Gualatzie. Gretzky was instead given No. 19 and later No. 14.During that season, traded NHL stars Phil Esposito and Ken Hodge began wearing 77 and 88, respectively. The Greyhounds' general manager suggested Gretzky follow their example by wearing 99.
QUICK JUMP TO PRO HOCKEY
Gretzky played his first professional hockey game after signing with the Indianapolis Racers as a 17-year-old. Indianapolis' outspoken owner, Nelson Skalbania, staged a major press conference to announce that he had stolen Gretzky away from the NHL a full three years before he would have been eligible for the NHL draft. Gretzky played only eight games in Indianapolis before Skalbania sold him to Edmonton. The Racers folded later that season, but retzky's presence in the WHA was a major factor in the NHL's decision to absorb four of six remaining WHA teams, including Edmonton, for 1979-80.
As an NHL rookie in 1979-80, Gretzky challenged Marcel Dionne for the league scoring lead. Although both players finished with 137 points, Dionne received the Art Ross Trophy because he had 53 goals and Gretzky had 51. The following year, Gretzky raised his goals total to 55 and began a seven-year reign as the league's scoring leader. And although he missed the Art Ross in his rookie year, Gretzky did win the Hart Trophy as the league MVP -- an award he would win for each of the next seven seasons.
THE AMAZING YEAR
Gretzky was already well known to sports fans by 1981-82, but his achievements in that season alone will never be forgotten. Gretzky scored a record 92 goals and 212 points. He also shattered the prestigious NHL record of 50 goals in 50 games, scoring five times in his 39th game of the season to hit the 50-mark. Following the 1981-82 season, Gretzky was named Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year for 1982. He was only 21 years old.
THE STANLEY CUP YEARS
Gretzky won four Stanley Cups as captain of the Edmonton Oilers. After being swept out of the Cup finals by the New York Islanders in 1983, Gretzky's Oilers came back to beat the Isles in five games in the 1984 finals. Gretzky scored 35 points in just 16 playoff games that season.
In 1985, the Oilers repeated as Stanley Cup champs and Gretzky won his first of two Conn Smythe Trophies as the playoff MVP. He scored a record 47 points in 18 playoff games. The Oilers won another set of back-to-back Cups in 1987 and 1988, with Gretzky winning the Smythe in 1988 after scoring 43 points in 19 games.
One of Gretzky's greatest accomplishments was a 51-game scoring streak during the 1983-84 season. He scored at least one point in each game for a total of 61 goals and 92 assists during the phenomenal stretch. No other player has ever scored at least one point in more than 39 consecutive NHL games.
Gretzky was traded to Los Angeles on Aug. 9, 1988, in one of the biggest pro sports transactions of the century. Less than four weeks before the trade, Gretzky had married actress Janet Jones, and the trade to the Kings offered him a chance to raise a family in Southern California where his wife also worked. At a tearful press conference, Gretzky said goodbye to the Edmonton players and fans. The Kings, then owned by Bruce McNall, promptly unveiled a new black and silver logo and sweater to mark Gretzky's arrival.
THE MAJOR RECORDS
Most of hockey's last 10 years have been spent watching Gretzky eclipse various NHL records. He began his assault on the record books by shattering the career assist mark in 1988. He achieved his last major record this season, when he passed Gordie Howe as the all-time leading goal-scorer in professional hockey.
- Born and raised in Brantford, Ontario.
- Has two brothers who also played pro hockey. Keith Gretzky was drafted by Buffalo, but never reached the NHL. Brent Gretzky played 13 games for Tampa Bay in the mid-1990s.
- Appeared on his first Sports Illustrated cover on Oct. 12, 1981
- Hosted Saturday Night Live in 1989 and appeared in one of the first "Wayne's World" sketches.
- Captained three NHL teams (Edmonton, Los Angeles and St. Louis).
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