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Wayne Gretzky

January 26, 2011 by staff 

Wayne Gretzky, Wayne Gretzky Douglas was born in  January 26, 1961 and is a former professional ice hockey. Nicknamed “The Great One” Gretzky is generally considered the best player in NHL history and was called “the greatest hockey player ever” by many sportswriters, players and the NHL itself. After his retirement April 18, 1999, he held forty regular-season records, playoff records of fifteen years and six All-Star records. He is the only NHL player to total over 200 points in a season, a feat he accomplished four times. In addition, he tallied over 100 points in 16 NHL seasons WHA / (15 in the NHL and WHA 1), 14 of them consecutive. All teams in the National Hockey League retired Gretzky’s jersey number, 99. He was elected one of six players from the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), the team’s Centennial All-Star in a poll conducted by a group of 56 experts from 16 countries.

Born and raised in Brantford, Ontario, Gretzky honed his skills at a backyard rink and regularly played minor hockey at a level well above its peers. Despite his unimpressive stature, strength and speed, Gretzky’s intelligence and reading of the game were unparalleled. He was able to evade the controls of opposing players, and he could not always predict where the puck would be and run the right decision at the right time. Gretzky is also known for setting up behind the net, an area that was nicknamed “Gretzky’s office” because of his skills there.

In 1978, he has signed with the Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association (WHA), where he briefly played before being traded to the Edmonton Oilers. When the Assembly has folded, the Oilers joined the NHL, where he set numerous scoring records and led his team to four Stanley Cups. His trade to Los Angeles August 9, 1988, had an immediate impact on team performance, possibly leading them to Stanley Cup final in 1993 and is credited with popularizing hockey in California. Gretzky has played briefly for the St. Louis Blues and finished his career with the New York Rangers. In his career, Gretzky captured nine Hart Trophies as MVP, ten Art Ross Trophies for most points in a season, five Lady Byng Trophies for sportsmanship and performance, five Lester B. Price Pearson, and two Conn Smythe trophies as playoff MVP.

After his retirement in 1999, he was immediately inducted into the Hall of Fame, and is the latest player to have the waiting period. He became executive director of the Canadian men’s hockey team during the National Winter Games of 2002 in which the team won a gold medal. In 2000 he became co-owner of the Phoenix Coyotes, and following the 2004-05 NHL lockout, he became head coach of the team. He also holds citizenship in the United States.

Gretzky’s paternal grandfather Anton (Tony) Gretzky immigrated to Canada via the United States from Belarus with his wife Mary Pidhaytsi, Ukraine. In interviews, Gretzky’s father Walter said his parents were Belarusians, while on other occasions, he mentioned a Polish ancestry of his family, and described his father as being born in Russia, with “Ukrainian ancestors”. Although described as Poland and Belarus, “the only Slavic language spoken in the family [was] Ukraine”.

Tony and Mary owned a vegetable farm of 25 acres (10 hectares) in Canning, Ontario, while the parents of Wayne, Phyllis (nee Hockin), and Walter, had an apartment in Brantford, where Walter worked for Bell Canada phone. Seven months after Wayne was born, Walter and Phyllis moved into a house. Wayne was joined by a sister, Kim (b. 1963), and brothers Keith, Glen and Brent. The family watched Hockey Night in Canada Tony and Mary. Within two years, Wayne tries to score goals against Mary with a stick of memory. The farm was where Wayne ice-skated for the first time in two years, 10 months.

Walter taught Wayne, Keith, Brent, Glen and their friends on a hockey rink, he did in his backyard, nicknamed the “Wally Coliseum.” Skating drills included around bleach bottles and cans, hockey pucks and throwing sticks at scattered to be able to pick up the puck again in full flight. Advice included Walter “skate where the puck is going, not where it was.” Wayne was a classic prodigy whose extraordinary skills made him the target of jealous parents.

Wayne Gretzky celebrated his 50th birthday on Wednesday. Here is a selection of quotes from the world of hockey on the life and times of the great:

Gretzky at 50: “I do not want to sound away on this, but it’s another day and it is another birthday, I am happy that my family healthy and I am in good physical health I feel good … ”

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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