Practicing for hours on end, it was here that a young Gretzky developed the skating, shooting and stickhandling techniques that appeared instinctive to so many over the course of his career. At six years old, an already-impressive Gretzky joined a league filled with players four years his senior. He scored only one goal in his first season, but improved dramatically over the course of his minor league career and finished it off with an incredible goal season. Gretzky continued to impress as a teenager, finishing second in scoring during his only full season in the OHA, then first in the World Junior Championships. Next came the pros. The move would prove to be fortuitous, to say the least.

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He started skating at age 2 and by the age of 6 was regularly playing with older boys. Over the next two decades, he dominated the sport, setting a host of league records. He retired in and was inducted into the Hall of Fame that same year. A precise and hard-working player, Gretzky was just 2 years old when he first started skating. The young Gretzky spent countless hours on the ice, honing his talents as a skater, shooter and passer.

As a result, Gretzky often played in leagues that catered to older boys. The age and size differences between Gretzky and his competition mattered little. In his final year of peewee hockey, he scored an improbable goals. By the time he was a teenager, Gretzky was making waves across Canada with his play.

Marie Greyhounds. His future status as an NHL star was furthered at the World Junior Championships in Quebec City, where Gretzky played for his home country and led the entire tournament in scoring. Eager to turn professional but barred from leaping to the NHL because of the league's age restrictions, Gretzky signed with the Indianapolis Racers of the fledgling World Hockey Association in the fall of However, not long after Gretzky arrived, the franchise closed its doors and sold its young asset to the NHL's Edmonton Oilers.

In the fall of , Gretzky embarked on his first full NHL season. As he had at every other level, he quickly started to dominate the competition, racking up an astonishing 51 goals and 86 assists, on his way to winning the league's Hart Memorial Trophy, an award recognizing its most valuable player. It was the first time a first-year player had ever been honored with the award.

Soon enough, Edmonton came to be a championship juggernaut. With Gretzky leading the way, the Oilers finished as Stanley Cup champions in , , and As his team won, Gretzky blazed through the record books by posting unfathomable numbers. In , he cracked the point barrier for the first time, setting a single-season record with 92 goals, while also collecting assists. His finest year may have been , a season in which he totaled 52 goals and an NHL single-season record, assists.

With the big numbers came plenty of adoration from Canadian hockey fans. On toy store shelves, the Wayne Gretzky doll was a part of the inventory, and in , the government of Canada even issued an official Wayne Gretzky dollar coin. Helping the player's celebrity status was his quiet, humble attitude, which helped ensure he wouldn't do anything off the ice to tarnish his image. However, in the summer of , the unthinkable happened when the Oilers traded Gretzky to Los Angeles for a slew of players, draft picks and cash.

Speculation has swirled around the exact reason for the trade. Popular opinion has long suggested that Gretzky, who'd recently married the actress Janet Jones, had pushed for the trade to further his wife's career.

But another theory banks on the idea that the NHL, fearing that its greatest asset was being wasted in Edmonton, forced the move. If Gretzky was in Los Angeles, the reasoning went, hockey's best player could greatly help the league become relevant in southern California. Regardless of why the trade happened, in the fall of , Gretzky donned a Kings jersey for the first time.

Over the next eight seasons, he led the franchise, not quite dominating the league as he once had, but still making his case as the NHL's best player. In , he even steered the franchise to the Stanley Cup finals, where the club lost to the Montreal Canadiens in five games. In , Gretzky left L. Louis Blues. After just one season with the franchise, he was on the move again, this time to the New York Rangers, where he played three more years and finished out his career in By almost every measure, Gretzky is hockey's most dominant scorer and quite possibly its greatest player.

In all, he holds or shares 61 NHL records, including most career goals , most career assists 1, and most career points 2, This is a great game, but it's a hard game. I'm ready. Not long after hanging up his skates, Gretzky was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

In addition, he continued to stay in close contact with the game and the league. With Gretzky at the helm as the program's executive director, Canada's men's Olympic hockey team ended its year drought and took home the gold medal at the Salt Lake City Games in Shortly after assuming his Olympic duties, Gretzky also came aboard as the managing partner of the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes in early Over the course of several seasons, Gretzky served in the front office and as the team's head coach.

Despite the excitement surrounding his association with the club, coach Gretzky was never able to lead the club to the playoffs, much less fill the arena with fans.

In September , after four tough seasons, he stepped down as coach. He eventually relinquished his ownership of the team. Gretzky, who's become involved in both the restaurant business and the wine business over the years, lives with his family in California. We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us! Subscribe to the Biography newsletter to receive stories about the people who shaped our world and the stories that shaped their lives. Sidney Crosby is a Canadian professional ice hockey player for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In , he became the youngest captain of a National Hockey League team. Cristiano Ronaldo is a professional soccer player who has set records while playing for the Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus clubs, as well as the Portuguese national team. One of the greatest baseball players in history, Willie Mays thrilled fans over a year big league career with his powerful bat and astonishing defensive skills. Professional football player Kurt Warner drove a high-powered St.

He has established records for goals scored and won individual awards en route to worldwide recognition as one of the best players in soccer. Track and field athlete Carl Lewis competed in four Olympic Games. He won nine gold medals, including four at the Olympics in Los Angeles. Jim Brown is a record-holding, former NFL fullback who has been elected to his sport's Hall of Fame and has also worked as a model and film actor.

Louis Blues and the New York Rangers during his long career.


GRETZKY: An Autobiography By Wayne Gretzky with Rick Reilly (HarperCollins: $19.95; 258 pp.)

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Wayne Gretzky

Hockey's best-known superstar traces his professional and personal career, discussing his conflicts with owners and coaches, his marriage to actress Janet Jones, his inspired play for the Kings, and his battles with NHL officials. Convert currency. Add to Basket. Book Description Harpercollins, Condition: New.

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Former professional ice hockey player. Nicknamed " The Great One ", [1] he has been called "the greatest hockey player ever" by many sportswriters, players, and the NHL itself. At the time of his retirement in , he held 61 NHL records : 40 regular season records, 15 playoff records, and 6 All-Star records. Born and raised in Brantford, Ontario , Canada, Gretzky honed his skills at a backyard rink and regularly played minor hockey at a level far above his peers. He was adept at dodging checks from opposing players, and consistently anticipated where the puck was going to be and executed the right move at the right time.

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