CNN Editorial Research
Here is a look at the life of Hall of Fame hockey player Wayne Gretzky, who is the all-time leading scorer in National Hockey League (NHL) history, with 2,857 career points (894 career goals and 1,963 career assists).
Birth date: January 26, 1961
Birth place: Brantford, Ontario, Canada
Birth name: Wayne Douglas Gretzky
Father: Walter Gretzky, telephone technician
Mother: Phyllis (Hockin) Gretzky
Marriage: Janet Jones (July 16, 1988-present)
Children: Emma, Tristan, Trevor, Ty and Paulina
Nicknamed “The Great One.”
Only player to have his jersey number (No. 99) retired by the entire NHL.
Won four Stanley Cup championships with the Edmonton Oilers (1984-1985, 1987-1988) and was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy (NHL Playoff MVP) twice (1985 and 1988).
Awarded the Hart Trophy (NHL MVP) nine times (1980-1987, 1989).
Won the Art Ross Trophy (NHL scoring title) 10 times (1981-1987, 1990-1991, 1994).
Played in 18 NHL All-Star Games.
At the time of his retirement in 1999, Gretzky held outright or shared 61 NHL records.
Is a part-owner of Wayne Gretzky Estates, a winery and distillery in Ontario’s Niagara region.
1974 – At age 13, scores his 1,000th lifetime goal, in an exhibition hockey game.
1978 – At the World Junior Championship, leads the tournament with 17 points (eight goals and nine assists).
June 1978 – Turns professional, signing with the Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association.
November 2, 1978 – Gretzky’s contract is sold to the Edmonton Oilers. After the collapse of the World Hockey Association (WHA), the Oilers are one of four WHA teams be absorbed into the NHL the following year.
October 14, 1979 – Scores his first NHL goal, against the Vancouver Canucks.
February 24, 1982 – Scores his 77th goal to break Phil Esposito’s single season scoring record. Gretzky ends the season with 92 goals, which remains an NHL record.
1983-1984 – Scores at least one point in 51 consecutive games. Gretzky’s record of the longest consecutive point scoring streak remains active in the NHL.
August 28-September 15, 1987 – Scores 21 points (three goals and 18 assists) in Team Canada’s victory against the USSR in the best-of-three finals for the Canada Cup. The final is still “considered by many to be the best exhibition of hockey in history.”
August 9, 1988 – His trade to the Los Angeles Kings is announced.
October 15, 1989 – Surpasses Gordie Howe to become the NHL’s all-time leading point scorer, with points 1,850 and 1,851.
October 26, 1990 – Earns his 2,000th career point, the only NHL player to reach that landmark.
March 23, 1994 – Scores his 802nd goal, passing Howe as the all-time leading goal scorer.
February 27, 1996 – Traded from the Los Angeles Kings to the St. Louis Blues.
July 21, 1996 – Signs with the New York Rangers as an unrestricted free agent.
April 18, 1999 – Retires following the Rangers’ 2-1 loss in overtime to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Gretzky played 20 seasons in the NHL, and a total of 21 seasons professionally.
October 1, 1999 – Gretzky’s jersey, No. 99, is formally retired league-wide.
November 22, 1999 – Inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame, after the three-year waiting period is waived.
June 2, 2000 – Announced as a minority owner, managing partner and head of hockey operations for the Phoenix Coyotes (formerly the Winnipeg Jets). Gretzky officially begins his position on February 15, 2001, when the sale of the Coyotes is completed.
2002 – Establishes the Wayne Gretzky Foundation to connect underprivileged youth with hockey.
February 2002 – The Canadian men’s hockey team, for which Gretzky is the executive director, wins gold at the Winter Olympics for the first time in 50 years.
2005-2009 – Head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes.
2014 – Establishes Gretzky Hockey Schools.
October 2016 – Becomes partner, vice chairman and alternate board member for the Oilers Entertainment Group, which owns the Edmonton Oilers. On May 25, 2021, Gretzky announces that he is stepping down as vice chairman.
May 26, 2021 – Turner Sports announces that Gretzky is joining the network as a studio analyst.
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