Wayne Gretzky Biography
Birthdate: January 26, 1961
Birthplace: Brantford, Ontario, Canada
For two decades Wayne Gretzky dominated the game of hockey. Kidzworld rewinds the clock and takes a look back at The Great One's career!
Wayne Gretzky started skating at just three years old in the hockey rink his father built in their back yard. Wayne would practice up to four or five hours a day with his brothers. It was obvious at a young age that Wayne was no ordinary athlete. When he was six, Wayne was already playing against 10-year-olds. When Wayne was 11, he scored over 300 goals in his hockey league. Gretzky turned pro at 17 and played briefly in the World Hockey Association for the Edmonton Oilers. When the Oilers moved up to the NHL the following year, the team signed the 18-year old prodigy to a record high 20-year, $5 million contract.
It wasn't long before Wayne started proving his worth as he took the NHL by storm in his rookie year. In his first year, he was the 1980 MVP and was tied for first in scoring. During his nine-year tenure in Edmonton, Gretzky won four Stanley Cups, eight-straight MVP's and seven Art Ross Trophies - the award for most total points. In 1988, the Oilers traded the biggest superstar in the NHL to the Los Angeles Kings in one of the biggest blockbuster and shocking trades in the history of professional sports. In ten years with the Kings, he led them to one Stanley Cup Final. Gretzky went on to play one season with the St. Louis Blues then finished his career with the New York Rangers before retiring in 1999. In 2005, Gretzky was named head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes where he coaches to this day.
Gretzky's domination helped him re-write the record books as he has held or shared 61 NHL records. Gretzky had a certain grace and flair when he played that made him the Michael Jordan of hockey. Gretzky was also partially responsible for the NHL to grow in popularity in the United States. Almost immediately after he retired in 1999, Gretzky was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame. He has statues in honor of him in front of the Los Angeles Kings' home arena, Staples Center, and one in front of the Rexall Place, which is the home of the Edmonton Oilers.
Did U Know?
- Wayne Gretzky is 6' tall and weighs 185 pounds.
- Wayne Gretzky always tucked in his right side of his jersey. He did this ever since he was six years old, up until he retired from the New York Rangers.
- Wayne Gretzky is of Polish and Belarusian ancestry.
- Wayne Gretzky is a south paw (ie. he is left-handed).
- Wayne Gretzky married actress Janet Jones in 1988 and they have five children together.
- Wayne Gretzky was the executive director of the Canadian Olympic Hockey Team in the 2002 and 2006 Olympic Games.
"All I wanted to do in the winters was be on the ice. I'd get up in the morning, skate from 7:00 to 8:30, go to school, come home at 3:30, stay on the ice until my mom insisted I come in for dinner, eat in my skates, then go back out"