Like this? Read about 15 other great sporting names, for free
Between 1973 and 1993, Wayne Gretzky was the undisputed superstar of the National Hockey League (NHL). In addition to scoring 513 goals for his hometown Edmonton Oilers – no one has ever managed that amount of goals in the NHL – Gretzky helped his team win the Stanley Cup four times and lead Canada to the gold medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics.
He won the No 1 star award in the NHL seven times, created a record with a 968-game NHL goal scoring streak and was on both the Canada and US Olympic teams for the 1988 and 1992 Games respectively.
The Most Valuable Player award was created to recognise the player whose contributions best contributed to team success in the 19th-century game, but to Gretzky it was much more.
A true National Hockey League legend, Gretzky was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.
Born in Newmarket, Ontario, Gretzky moved with his family to Los Angeles when he was 13. His mother and sister were from nearby Victoria, British Columbia, so he spoke fluent English.
Just what did Gretzky want to be when he grew up?
A hockey player of course.
“In the summertime growing up, you couldn’t go on the street without your friends,” he told Sports Illustrated. “So every day we’d get to the rink, and we’d play shinny, skating. We’d play street hockey. There was never a ball in sight. My parents would even let us hit the plexiglass with our sticks. We didn’t want to go anywhere. We liked to be together.”
How many trophies and awards does Gretzky have?
A record 10 Stanley Cups, six of which he won with the Oilers. The California Golden Seals, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings were also part of his NHL championship successes.
What awards does Gretzky own?
The 1978 scoring title, which he won with five goals and 20 points in 31 games, is considered by many the most incredible in NHL history.
He also holds the record for most goals in a season with 92 in 1981-82. He broke the NHL record for longest goal scoring streak in 1970-71 by tying the record set by former teammate Gretzky Smith with a total of 968 games.
The NHL’s Association for Advancement of Hockey Professionals awarded him the 2004 Bobby Orr Trophy as the outstanding NHL player in the past 15 years. In January 2010, he won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s top scorer with 197 points.
In May of that year, he won the Lester B Thornton Award, which is given annually to the NHL player who shows leadership by example, dedication to the game and contributions to his team. He followed it up with the league’s Hart Trophy in October 2010 for most valuable player and went on to win the Conn Smythe Trophy for most valuable player in the Stanley Cup finals when his Oilers were beaten by the Philadelphia Flyers.
He joins a list of past winners of the NHL’s Player of the Century award. Other notable winners include Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Martin Brodeur, Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, Alex Ovechkin, Mike Modano, Sidney Crosby, Mario Lemieux, Martin Brodeur, Jonny Hull, Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, Wayne Gretzky, Alex Ovechkin, Bobby Orr, Bobby Orr, Denis Potvin, Bobby Orr, Guy Lafleur, Mark Messier, Kevin Lowe, Bryan Trottier, Scotty Bowman, John Furlong, Wayne Gretzky, Steve Yzerman, Vladimir Vysotsky, Adam Oates, Pavel Datsyuk, Paul Kariya, Joe Sakic, Chris Pronger, Ron Francis, Claude Lemieux, Mario Lemieux, Mike Modano, Henrik Lundqvist, Martin Brodeur, Milan Lucic, Sergei Fedorov, Joe Sakic, Jaromir Jagr, Martin St. Louis, Mike Bossy, Bob Gainey, Guy Lafleur, Paul Kariya, Phil Esposito, Bobby Hull, Bobby Hull, Jean Beliveau, Guy Lafleur, Mark Messier, Bernie Parent, Frederic Chabot, Pierre Turgeon, Alexei Yashin, Ted Lindsay, Kevin Lowe, Tom Renney, Jacques Lemaire, Tom Renney, Darren McCarty, Eric Lindros, Rod Brind’Amour, Randy Carlyle, Ed Belfour, Eddie Shore, Paul Coffey, Ron Low, Kelly Hrudey, Brad Lauer, Dirk Graham, Jari Kurri, Milt Schmidt, Dave Andreychuk, Rod Brind’Am