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Wayne Gretzky Biography

Early Success In Hockey, Chronology, Rapid Ascent Through The Ranks, Makes Nhl Debut In 1979

1961-

Canadian hockey player

The dominant figure in the National Hockey League (NHL) during his twenty-year career in the majors, Wayne Gretzky more than lived up to his nickname, "The Great One." After making his debut in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers in 1979, Gretzky earned the league's Most Valuable Player honors nine times over the next ten seasons. The top scorer in the NHL every season between 1981 and 1987, Gretzky also won top scoring honors three more times between 1990 and 1994. From 1984 to 1988 the Oilers dominated the NHL, winning four Stanley Cup championships; on the way to two of those victories, Gretzky picked up the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs' Most Valuable Player. In addition to these achievements, Gretzky also helped to expand the popularity of hockey into America's growing Sunbelt cities after he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988. Although the Kings never reached the heights that the Oilers had attained, Gretzky remained, by consensus opinion, the top player in the NHL as well as one of its most popular personalities in the 1990s. In his retirement as a professional athlete, Gretzky has retained the respect

Wayne Gretzky

of his peers and the public by directing Canada's men's hockey team to its first Gold Medal in fifty years in the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games in 2002. His other challenges included managing the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes, a team that he partly owned, and raising a family with wife Janet Jones, whom he married in 1988.

Sketch by Timothy Borden

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsHockey