Wayne Douglas Gretzky, born on the 26th of January, in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, the year is 1961. Wayne would become one of the greatest names in sports events. If you google: 'The best hockeyplayer ever' I am sure you will find lots of articles referring to Waynes success.
Waynes family is originally from Belarus and Russia. It all started with Wayne getting his first pair of skates when he only was three years old. He learned to skate at a river, near his grandfathers farm, and he also went skating at public rinks on the weekends. But people consider the rink which Waynes father built for him as the main factor of his skating-skills. Waynes father, Walter, was also the one who trained him. Walter were also a promising hockey player, but was discouraged because of his size.
Gretzkys started to distinguish when he was very young. Only six years old he played with guys four years older than himself. At the age of ten, Wayne scored 378 goals and 139 assists on 85 games, which resulted with an article about him in the paper Toronto Telegram. Wayne Gretzky is now fourteen years old and is playing with twenty year old people. By the period of 1972-1973 Wayne scored 105 goals in the Major Pee Wee league. In the next season Wayne scored 90 goals in the Major Bantam league.
Wayne moved to Toronto, after being discovered by the coach Sam McMaster, who trained Young Nationals.
Wayne wore number 99, he couldn't pick 9, as it was taken by Brian Gualazzi. The reason Wayne wanted number 9 was because that was the number who was worn by his idol: Gordie Howe. Wayne won the "Rookie of the year"-award that year.
McMaster was offered to become general manager in Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, and brought Gretzky with him, where he once again won the "Rookie of the year"-award.
When sixteen, Wayne kept making progress, and were playing in the junior 'A' league. Many people went to see the new talented player play, Wayne had now got some fans. Still sixteen, Wayne participated in JWC (Junior World Championship) in Montreal. Even though Wayne was the youngest player in the tournament (guess what?) he scored the most goals, that led to a place in the Allstar-team and was appointed to the best forward in the whole tournament.
1978 he signed for Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association (WHA). That meant he now was playing on a professional level, at an age of seventeen! National Hockey League (NHL) did not allow players below eighteen to play, but in WHA it was okay.
Only two months later, Wayne signed a contract with Edmonton Oilers, actually on his eighteenth birthday, which lasted for twenty-one years. Indianapolis Racers had a bad economical situation during that period. That was the longest contract ever a ice hockey team had agreed. Once again Gretzky won the Lou Kaplan Trophy, as "Rookie of the year". Also he ended up on the third place in the scoring-league. That was his only complete season in WHA. Edomnt Oilers got moved, along with three other teams to NHL. Many critics thought Wayne wasn't going to live up to the expectations, but he proved them all wrong:
In his first year in NHL he scored eight more goals than he did last year in WHA. And made it to the second All-Star team, he also won his first Hart Trophy, for being the most valuable player in the league. He held that trophy for eight years in a row. He also won the Lady Byng Trophy for showing good sportmanship, gentlemanly conduct, and for the great skating ability he had.
Next season Gretzky won the Art Ross Trophy, for doing most assist and for scoring the most.
He won that award seven times in a row. And he too won the Hart Trophy. Wayne got appointed to man-athlete of the year by Associated Press and by Sport Illustrated.
Wayne just kept delivering, despite that the Edmonts were laying in the far bottom. He would hit his own assist-record three times. And be the player to ever do 215 point in a single season. At the end of his career he was in charge of 49 records. In fact that is a record itself. Wayne Gretzky did beat his idol, Gordie Howe had 1,850 as top score, Wayne got 1989 as his standing top score.
The luck returned for the former WHA champions and the Edmonts reached to finale in Stanley Cup 1983, but unfortunately they lost. The next year the Edmonts got to Stanley Cup finale and actually won. And they were fighting in the top of NHL at this time.
In the year of 1988 Wayne Gretzky along with Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski was traded to Los Angeles Kings. The transfer got called as "The Trade". The Canadians were really upset - their biggest hockey player of all time had abandoned them! It even got to a point where the politician Nelson Riis from New Democratic Party demanded the government to stop "The Trade".
The Canadians saw Wayne as a traitor. Many rumors were in the air. Gretzky lost status in Canada, but it was just temporary.
Los Angeles Kings
The public numbers raised as soon as Wayne moved to LA Kings, and the team also climbed higher and higher on the scoreboard. The same year they were facing Waynes old team in the final tournaments. LA Kings won despite they were in a disadvantage, much thanks to Wayne. That year Wayne came second in the score-league.
The first half of the 1992/1993-season was watched from the audience section by Wayne. He had problems with his back. But he soon got up on his feet and did a hat-trick against Toronto Maple Leafs, which qualified LA Kings to Stanley Cup. It didn't get too well in Stanley Cup, they lost the last four games. Gretzky went on his own initiative to look for another team to play for. Before Wayne played for LA Kings hockey wasn't even close as big as it was when he left it. That's why many people claim you could say Wayne Gretzky was the one who was a main inspiration for two teams which was created in LA: Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks. Gretzky was now appointed to the man-athlete of the decade, by Associated Press, again.
St. Louis Blues had been searching for a good forward a long time, and now they got the chance to try out The One and Only: Wayne Gretzky, but it was a disaster. Wayne did not fit with the team mates he was playing with in the Blues. The same summer as Wayne arrived to Blues he signed on as a free agent for The New York Rangers.
The New York Rangers and the end of His career
The last three seasons in Waynes hockey career were spent in Rangers, they did not win any titles or such. In Waynes last game he was honored, as they changed the lyrics under the Canadian national anthem, from: "O Canada, we stand on guard for thee" to "We're going to miss you Wayne Gretzky", sung by Bryan Adams. The American national anthem: "the land of the free" was changed to "the land of Wayne Gretzky", sung by John Amirante.
A committee was gathered to decide the one-hundred best players of all time. Wayne Gretzky was placed as number one. Two places behind, Gordie Howe was placed. Gretzky played 61 national games,
where he also showed how to play.
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KällhänvisningInactive member [2010-12-08] Wayne Gretzky
Mimers Brunn [Online]. https://mimersbrunn.se/article?id=58812 [2020-10-01]
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