Wayne Gretzky is a true ice hockey icon and legend. In fact, many fans and fellow athletes believe that Gretzky is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, to ever play the game. As a former professional ice hockey player and head coach, Gretzky played 20 seasons in the NHL from 1979 to 1999. Dubbed “The Great One,” he is the all-time leading scorer in NHL history. Gretzky also holds the record for most goals and assists of any player. In fact, he scored over 200 points in one season, and he accomplished this feat four times. Gretzky’s other accolades and achievements include:
While Wayne Gretzky is enjoying retirement, he continues to follow ice hockey on all levels. The Brantford, Ontario-born Gretzky played junior and minor league hockey before he became The Great One. As part of our Throwback Thursday column, let us take a look at Gretzky’s days in the junior and minor hockey leagues.
Gretzky fell in love with ice hockey at a young age. He practiced his skills in a makeshift backyard rink and would go on to join the Brantford Nadrofsky Steelers. It was with this hometown team that Gretzky scored an amazing 378 goals and 139 assists in one season. He was only 10 years old at the time, but his amazing skills were highlighted by the Toronto Telegram in October 1971. By age 13, the Great One scored 1,000 goals, and his unmatched skills would also lead him to:
Gretzky would play a season with the Greyhounds at age 16. It was with the Greyhounds that Gretzky first wore number 99 on his jersey. He initially wanted to wear number 9 in honor of his hockey hero Gordie Howe, but it was already taken by fellow teammate Brian Gualazzi.
Despite his small frame, Gretzky had incomparable stick and puck handling skills. He moved smoothly on the ice and made scoring and assists look easy. Gretzky would move on from youth and junior hockey to play in the World Hockey Association and National Hockey League. He credits his time in the junior hockey leagues for helping to enhance and improve his overall skills.