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Round 2
Round 3
Stanley Cup Final

99 Reasons Why Wayne Gretzky is "The Great One"

Saturday, 10.02.2004 / 7:43 PM / History

By NHL.com Staff

  • At the age of 10, Gretzky scores 378 goals in Brantford's atom league - still an age group record.
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  • While playing in the prestigious International Pee Wee Hockey Tournament in Quebec City's Le Colisee, the 14-year-old Gretzky is frequently besieged by autograph seekers.
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  • As a teenager, young Wayne often competes against players much older. At 14 he plays in Tier II junior and major junior at 15.
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  • Wayne first dons his now famous No. 99 jersey as a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Originally wanting to wear No. 9 like his idol Gordie Howe, Gretzky settles on his trademark number after wearing No. 19 for a few weeks
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  • In May 1978, Gretzky turns pro at 17 with the Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association.
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  • The financially strapped Indianapolis franchise trades Gretzky to the Edmonton Oilers of the WHA in May of 1978.
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  • In his first season with the Oilers, Gretzky registers 46 goals and 110 points on his way to capturing WHA rookie of the year honors.
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  • The Edmonton, Hartford, Quebec and Winnipeg franchises join the NHL for the 1979-80 season. Gretzky makes his NHL debut on Oct. 10 and registers his first career NHL point, an assist on Kevin Lowe's goal against Chicago.
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  • His first NHL goal does not come until three games into the season on Oct. 14 against Glen Hanlon of the Vancouver Canucks.
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  • Gretzky wins his first of eight consecutive Hart Trophies in 1979-80 as the MVP of the League.
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  • With the 51 goals in 1979-80, Gretzky becomes the youngest player (19 years, two months) to score 50 goals in a single season.
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  • Sets an NHL record for most assists in one game by a first-year player, with seven on Feb. 15 vs. Washington.
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  • As a first-year player, No. 99 is named as the NHL's Second Team All-Star at the age of 18.
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  • In his sophomore season, Gretzky wins his first of seven consecutive Art Ross Trophies as the NHL's leading scorer, setting NHL records for assists (109) and points (164) in a single season.
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  • Named the NHL's First Team All-Star Center in 1980-81.
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  • Ties an NHL mark for most goals in one period, netting four vs. St. Louis on Feb. 18, 1981.
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  • On Dec. 30, 1981 against Philadelphia, Gretzky scores his 50th goal in an unimaginable 39 games. The previous mark was 50 goals in 50 games by Maurice Richard and Mike Bossy.
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  • In 1981-82, he wins the first of five Lester B. Pearson Awards as the NHL's outstanding player as voted by the players.
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  • Captures his second League scoring title in 1981-82 after becoming the first player in NHL history to record over 200 points, collecting 212.
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  • Sets an NHL record for most goals in one season with 92 in 1981-82, breaking Phil Esposito's record of 76, set with Boston in 1970-71.
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  • Breaks his own mark of most assists in a single season with 120 in 1981-82.
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  • Nets 10 hat tricks in 1981-82 to garner yet another record.
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  • Surpasses his own mark for most assists in a single season with 125 in 1982-83.
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  • Gretzky earns MVP honors in the 1983 NHL All-Star Game at Long Island after netting four goals.
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  • Notches an NHL record with a 30-game scoring streak during the 1982-83 season, surpassing Guy Lafleur's record of 28 in 1976-77.
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  • Finishes the 1982-83 season having played in 310 consecutive games.
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  • Sets NHL Stanley Cup Playoff records during the 1983 postseason with 26 assists and 38 points.
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  • Establishes a new record by notching at least one point in 51 consecutive games, tallying 61 goals and 92 assists for 153 points during the streak in 1983-84. The next longest streak is held by Mario Lemieux, who had a 46-game scoring streak in which he scored 39 goals and 103 points.
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  • During the 1983-84 regular season and playoffs, Gretzky scores a combined 100 goals (87 regulars season, 13 playoffs).
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  • Sets an NHL record with 12 shorthanded goals and ties his own mark with 10 hat tricks during the 1983-84 season.
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  • Captains the Edmonton Oilers to their first Stanley Cup championship in 1984 over the New York Islanders in five games.
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  • Success continues to find Gretzky during the 1984-85 season. He wins the Hart Trophy for the sixth consecutive year, the Art Ross for the fifth, the Lester B. Pearson for the fourth and makes his fifth First Team All-Star appearance at center.
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  • Leads the NHL in 1984-85 with a plus-98 rating.
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  • In 1984-85, Gretzky ranks first in goals, assists, points, shorthanded goals, shots on goal and consecutive-game point streak.
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  • Breaks his own single season record with 135 assists in 1984-85.
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  • During the 1985 postseason, Gretzky rewrites the record books, with 30 assists and 47 points in one playoff year.
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  • Gretzky keeps raising the bar for points in one season, including playoffs, registering 255 in 1984-85.
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  • Records his 1,000th career point on Dec. 19, 1984 vs. Los Angeles.
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  • Captures the 1985 Conn Smythe Trophy while leading the Oilers to their second consecutive Stanley Cup.
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  • Gretzky makes a habit of breaking his own records, when in 1985-86 he sets new marks for assists (163) and points (215) in a single season.
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  • Ties an NHL record for most assists in a game with seven on Feb. 15, 1980 vs. Washington; also tallies seven assists at Chicago on Dec. 11, 1985 and on Feb. 14, 1986 vs. Quebec.
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  • Notches a point in 77 of the 80 games in the 1985-86 season.
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  • Gretzky scores his 37th career three-goal-game on Jan. 8, 1986, tying Mike Bossy's career mark.
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  • In Rendez-Vous '87 against the Soviet Union, Gretzky is named Team NHL's Player of the Series.
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  • At the tender age of 25, Gretzky scores his 500th NHL goal on Nov. 22, 1986 vs. Vancouver goaltender Troy Gamble, becoming the 13th player to reach that plateau.
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  • Establishes a new mark for career hat tricks during the 1986-87 season when No. 99 has four three-goal-games to lift his career total to 41.
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  • On April 9, 1987, Gretzky tallies his 177th career playoff point vs. Los Angeles, surpassing Jean Beliveau as the all-time leading scorer in Stanley Cup playoff history.
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  • Leads the League in postseason scoring with 34 points, helping the Oilers win their third championship in four years.
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  • Gretzky notches his 1,000th career assist vs. the Rangers on Nov. 4, 1987.
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  • On Mar 1, 1988, Gretzky becomes the NHL's all-time leader in assists, notching his 1,050th vs. Los Angeles.
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  • His 31 assists during the 1988 Stanley Cup playoffs remain the most by any player in a single postseason.
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  • Gretzky captures his second Conn Smythe Trophy as the Edmonton Oilers win their fourth championship in five years.
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  • On Aug. 9, 1988, Gretzky is traded to the Los Angeles Kings along with Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski in exchange for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, a 1989 first round pick (Martin Rucinsky), a 1993 first round pick (Nick Stajduhar) and cash.
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  • Makes his Kings debut on Oct. 6, 1988 vs. Detroit and records his first point on his first shot.
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  • Captures the Hart Trophy for the ninth time in 1989, becoming the first Kings player to ever win the award.
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  • Registers his 600th NHL goal on Nov. 23, 1988 vs. Detroit.
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  • Notches seven points, including his 1,800th career point, with two goals and five assists on Feb. 18, 1989 vs. Quebec.
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  • Earns MVP honors of the 1989 NHL All-Star Game in Edmonton.
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  • Sets a Los Angeles club record for assists (114) and points (168) in a single season during the 1988-89 campaign.
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  • Moves past Marcel Dionne into second place on the all-time scoring list in a game at Hartford on Jan. 21, 1989.
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  • Becomes the all-time leading scorer on Oct. 15, 1989 against his former team, the Edmonton Oilers, surpassing Gordie Howe's total of 1,850.
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  • His 1,850th point comes on a goal tying the game with 53 seconds remaining in regulation. He also scores the game-winning goal in overtime.
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  • Tallies his 1,900th point with an assist on Dec. 10, 1989 vs. Quebec.
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  • Garners his eighth Art Ross Trophy and leads the League with 102 assists in 1989-90, extending his own record of consecutive 100 or more assist season to 10.
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  • During the 1990 Stanley Cup Playoffs, "The Great One" ties a Kings record for points in a single playoff game with five (one goal, four assists).
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  • The 1990-91 season sees Gretzky win his second consecutive Art Ross Trophy and ninth all-time.
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  • His 122 assists leads the League in 1990-91 and sets a Kings club mark for helpers in a single season.
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  • Becomes the only player in NHL history to register 2,000 career points after recording an assist on Oct. 26, 1990 at Winnipeg.
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  • During the 1990-91 season, Gretzky has four games in which he accumulates five or more points, increasing his career total to 90.
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  • Becomes the fourth player in NHL history to tally 700 goals in a game against the Islanders on Jan. 3, 1991.
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  • Moves into first place on the all-time playoff goal-scoring list, surpassing Jari Kurri, with 93.
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  • Tallies a pair of game-winning goals during the 1991 Stanley Cup Playoffs, tying Maurice Richard's NHL record of 18.
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  • Wins his second consecutive and third overall Lady Byng Trophy in 1992.
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  • Notches his 13th consecutive 100-point season. Mario Lemieux, Guy Lafleur, Peter Stastny, Mike Bossy, Steve Yzerman and Bobby Orr are tied for second with six consecutive 100-point seasons.
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  • Scores his 732nd goal on Dec. 21, 1991 vs. Detroit and moves past Marcel Dionne into second on the all-time scoring list.
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  • Gretzky records his 2,200th point on Jan. 10, 1992 vs. Washington and his 1,500th career assist on March 4, 1992 at San Jose.
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  • Becomes the only player in NHL history to register 300 career playoff points in Game Two of the Smythe Division Finals in 1992.
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  • Totals 40 points in the 1993 playoffs to lead the League as the Los Angeles Kings make their first ever Stanley Cup Finals appearance.
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  • Gretzky scores his 100th career playoff goal on May 17 in Game Three of the Smythe Division Finals vs. Vancouver.
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  • Sets a record for most postseason hat tricks with his eighth in Game Seven of the Conference Finals against Toronto on May 29, 1993. The previous record was held by Maurice Richard.
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  • Gretzky becomes the NHL's all-time leading goal scorer, surpassing Gordie Howe. His 802nd comes against Vancouver goaltender Kirk McLean on March 23, 1994.
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  • Wins his 10th Art Ross Trophy in 1994 to become the oldest player, at age 33, to win the scoring title in 31 years (Gordie Howe won the title at 35 in 1963).
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  • Registers his 1,600th career assist on Nov. 30, 1993 vs. Winnipeg and his 2,400th career point on Jan. 12, 1994 vs. Hartford.
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  • Records his 2,500th career point with an assist on April 17, 1995 at Calgary.
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  • On Feb. 27, 1996, Gretzky is traded to the St. Louis Blues and finishes the season as the Blues leading scorer with 102 points. It marks the 15th time in his career he reaches the 100-point plateau.
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  • The New York Rangers sign Gretzky to a free-agent contact on July 21, 1996, reuniting him with former Edmonton teammate Mark Messier.
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  • Versus Montreal on Dec. 1, 1996, he becomes the only player in NHL history to reach the 3,000-point plateau (including regular season and playoffs).
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  • Collects his 2,700th NHL career point vs Boston on April 3, 1997.
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  • On Oct. 26, 1997, Gretzky earns his 1,851st assist, giving him more assists than any player has total points.
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  • Registers his League-leading 10th career playoff hat trick on May 18, 1997 in Game Two of the Conference Finals against Philadelphia.
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  • Collects a pair of assists at the 1998 All-Star Game to become the all-time leading scorer in All-Star history (12 goals, 10 assists, 22 points).
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  • Picks up his 50th career regular season hat trick to pad his overall lead on Oct. 11, 1997 at Vancouver. Mike Bossy is second with 39.
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  • Notches a power-play goal on March 7, 1998 at New Jersey for his 1,000th career goal, combining regular season and playoffs.
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  • On Jan. 9, 1998, Gretzky is named the Greatest Hockey Player of All-Time as selected by The Hockey News.
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  • Gretzky tallies three points (one goal, two assists) in the North America All-Stars' 8-6 victory over the World All-Stars on Jan. 24, 1999, increasing his record career points total in All-Star Game play to 25 (13 goals, 12 assists) in 18 games.
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  • Gretzky puts his stamp on hockey history once again on March 29, 1999, scoring the 1,072nd goal of his professional career. Between his NHL and WHA career, Gordie Howe tallied 1,071.
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  • Gretzky won nine Hart Trophies in 10 seasons as the NHL's most valuable player. Gordie Howe's six Hart awards represent the second-highest total. The highest number of MVP honors earned in other sports are: NBA - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 6; Major League Baseball, many with three.
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  • A 10-time NHL scoring leader, Gretzky would have won three Art Ross Trophies strictly on the basis of assists and tied for a fourth.
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  • Gretzky recorded four 200-point regular seasons: 212 in 1981-82; 205 in 1983-84; 208 in 1984-85 and 215 in 1985-86. No other player has recorded a 200-point season. Mario Lemieux scored 199 in 1988-89.
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    I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

    — Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series-winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round