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Definition: Gretzky from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate(R) Dictionary

Wayne Gretzky 1961–     Canad. ice hockey player


Summary Article: Gretzky, Wayne from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Canadian ice-hockey player, widely regarded as the best in the history of the National Hockey League (NHL). Gretzky played with the Edmonton Oilers 1979–88, the Los Angeles Kings 1988–96, and the New York Rangers 1997–1999. He took just 11 years to break the NHL scoring record of 1,850 goals (accumulated by Gordie Howe over 26 years). By the time of his retirement in April 1999, he held or shared 61 NHL records, including most total goals, assists, and points, as well as most goals in a season (92), most assists in a season (163), and most points in a season (215).

Career highlights

National Hockey League appearances: 1,693 (including 208 play-off games); goals: 1,016 (including 122 in play-off games); assists: 2,223 (including 260 in play-off games); points: 3,239 (including 382 in play-off games)

Stanley Cup 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988

Hart Memorial Trophy NHL's most valuable player: 1980–87, 1989

Art Ross Trophy most points in regular season: 1981–87, 1990–91, 1994

Conn Smythe Trophy play-offs Most Valuable Player: 1985, 1988

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship: 1980, 1991–92, 1994, 1999

In February 1996, he joined the St Louis Blues, but moved on to the New York Rangers six months later. Almost universally regarded as ice hockey's greatest-ever player, he played his last game on 18 April 1999. Just three months after his retirement, he was inducted into the sport's Hall of Fame, becoming the tenth and final player to bypass the usual three-year wait for eligibility. He was known throughout his career as ‘The Great One’ and is the only player ever to have had his number, 99, officially retired across the whole league. In December 1999, the US magazine Sports Illustrated named him ‘Best Ice Hockey Player of the 20th Century’.

In December 2000, he became co-owner of the Phoenix Coyotes. He took over as the team's head coach at the start of the 2005–06 season, a position he held until September 2009. He was the executive director of the Canadian men's hockey team for the 2002 and 2006 Olympics, winning the team's first gold medal in 50 years in Salt Lake City, but only reaching the quarter-finals four years later in Torino.

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