Gretzky earned his first of seven straight Art Ross Trophies as the NHL's best scorer in his second season, setting NHL records for assists (109) and points (164) in a single season. In 1980-81, he was selected the NHL's first team all-star center. It matches an NHL record for most goals in a single period, which was set against St. Louis on Feb. 18, 1981. The record has since been broken twice more.
Gretzky is also known for being one of the greatest power forwards in NHL history. He finished his career with more than 500 goals and 1000 points in only five seasons. His 2,857 minutes played are third all time behind Jaromir Jagr and Ron Francis.
Gretzky won't be able to match or break his own records now that he's retired. However, he still holds many other individual hockey records including most game-winning goals (87), most consecutive games with a goal (20), and highest average per game winner during a career (1.9).
He also ranks first in playoff scoring with 33 goals and 62 points. During his tenure with the Edmonton Oilers, he helped them win four Stanley Cups, in 1984, 1986, 1987, and 1990. After retirement, he became an ambassador for the team and now serves as an executive director for the Gretzky Foundation, which works to improve health and wellness through sports programs in underserved communities across North America.
99 was chosen to the NHL's Second Team All-Star team at the age of 18. The following year, he became the first player to score 100 goals in a season. He went on to lead the Edmonton Oilers to five more Stanley Cups during his eight years with the club.
Gretzky ended his NHL career with 411 goals and 894 assists for 1,307 points in 901 games. He remains number one in almost every major statistical category, including points, goals, and assists. His 2,857 regular season points are an NHL record that has never been surpassed.
Gretzky won four consecutive Hart Memorial Trophy awards as the league's most valuable player. He also won the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship & civility in hockey. He ended his career with a positive plus/minus rating of +240.
After ending his NHL career, Gretzky played two more seasons with the New York Rangers, helping them win the inaugural Super Bowl in 1981. He concluded his career as one of only three players who have scored over 500 goals and recorded over 1000 assists in their NHL career. The other two are Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr.
Gretzky left behind 61 NHL records, including a few that are simply incredible: single-season marks of 92 goals, 163 assists, and 215 points; a point streak of 51 games; 894 career goals and 2,857 career points; and 15 seasons of 100 or more points, 13 of which were consecutive. He's also second only to Mario Lemieux in total points by a right winger (1896--1958). In addition, Gretzky is the only player to have won an Olympic gold medal, World Championship, and Stanley Cup all while wearing number 99.
Gretzky was such a great player that it's hard to compare him with anyone else. However, one thing that does stand out is his ability to get better as each season went by. He wasn't perfect, but he did everything well enough to avoid mistakes. He had excellent hand-eye coordination, was strong on the puck, and could shoot accurately. What made him so special was his creativity and sense of style. He knew how to use these skills to his advantage, making him one of the best players in NHL history.
Gretzky was born on January 4th, 1961 in Brantford, Ontario. He grew up in nearby Thornhill, and began playing ice hockey at an early age. His first club team was the St. Michael's Minor Hockey Association in Whitby, where he played from 1969 to 1971.
His first 100-point season came in 1978-79, when the Oilers were still a member of the World Hockey Association; he had 104 points (43 goals, 61 assists) in 72 games. Gretzky collected 137 points (51 goals, 86 assists) in 79 games in his rookie NHL season, tying him for the league record with Marcel Dionne.
Gretzky went on to become one of hockey's greatest players, scoring 99 or more points five times and recording over 1000 career points before retiring in 1998. He was the runner-up to Paul "The Great One" O'Neill for the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie skater in 1977-78.
Gretzky's 100th career goal came at the age of 19 years, 301 days on April 4, 1979, against Jacques Lemaire of the New York Rangers. The Edmonton Journal reported that an estimated 20,000 fans attended the game at Northlands Coliseum to witness the milestone event. That same year, Wayne's brother David also became only the second player in NHL history to score 50 goals in a single season when he netted 51 goals for the Los Angeles Kings. The other player is now considered by many to be one of the best to ever play the game.
Wayne Gretzky turned 20 two weeks after defeating the Rangers with help from his brothers Dave and Marty, who both played that night for the Oilers.
Gretzky retired as the all-time leader in goals, assists, and points by significant proportions. He led the league in goal scoring five times; in assists 16 times, including 13 years in a row; he won 11 scoring championships; he won nine MVP Awards and four Stanley Cups.
Gretzky was also extremely effective in the clutch: of the 102 goals he scored on the power play, 89 came when the game was tied or ahead. And he was equally impressive in his own end of the ice: among players who played at least 500 games, only Bobby Orr had a lower plus/minus rating (plus-31).
Gretzky was an incredible talent from a very young age. At just 15 years old, he became the youngest player to score 100 points in the NHL. He went on to have eight seasons with over 50 goals and another three with over 40. He was also one of the first great two-way players, capable of dominating games at both ends of the ice.
Besides being one of the greatest natural talents in hockey history, Gretzky was also incredibly intelligent and knowledgeable about the game. He knew how to manage the puck, where to find open space on the ice, and when to join the rush. He was able to read the defense and find soft spots to slide the puck through for goals.
Center Wayne Gretzky spent 20 seasons with four different teams. In 1487 games, Gretzky has 894 goals, 1,963 assists, and a plus-minus of +520. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999 after winning nine Hart Trophies.
The most important number in hockey is probably #99; it's the number of trophies Gretzky has won (nine) during his career. He has more points than any other player in NHL history - 4741 - and is only behind Alex Ovechkin in overall scoring rate. However, because he played for so long ago, he doesn't have a contract with an NHL team today.
Gretzky was born on January 31st, 1961 in Brantford, Ontario. He was the first player in NHL history to score 100 goals before turning 21 years old. He remains one of just three players to do so (Lidstrom, Bertuzzi). His 990 points in 2001 have been surpassed by Ovechkin but they will never be separated since Gretzky retired after that season.
Wayne Gretzky is considered by many to be the greatest player in hockey history. He is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Order of Canada, and the International Ice Hockey Federation's World All-Time Team.