On Jan. 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay, Wayne Gretzky brought the curtain down on his All-Star Game career with perhaps the greatest performance of the 18 at which he thrilled fans across North America.
A summary of his All-Star Game career:
Was voted to the starting lineup nine times, twice with Edmonton (1986, 1988); six times with Los Angeles (1989-92, 1994, 1996); once with New York Rangers (1997)
Never missed an All-Star Game in his 20-year career (played in the Rendez-Vous '87 series vs. Soviet Union)
Trails only Gordie Howe (23) for most All-Star Game appearances
Was the fifth-youngest player to ever appear in an All-Star Game (19 years, 10 days)
Joins Mario Lemieux as the winner of the most All-Star Game MVP awards (three)
Feb. 5, 1980 at Detroit -- First All-Star Game appearance. Plays against childhood hero Gordie Howe. As a 19-year-old, the third-youngest to ever appear in an All-Star Game at that time.
Feb. 19, 1981 at Los Angeles -- Records his first All-Star point, an assist, as he and Mike Bossy set up Behn Wilson's third-period goal in a 4-1 victory for the Campbell Conference.
Feb. 9, 1982 at Washington -- Scores his first All-Star goal 26 seconds into the second period in a 4-2 loss. Paul Coffey and Dino Ciccarelli assisted.
Feb. 8, 1983 at Long Island -- His four third-period goals set All-Star records for most goals in game, period and points in a period. Captured his first MVP award.
Jan. 31, 1984 at New Jersey -- Scores a goal, adding to a record number of goals scored in one All-Star Game (13) in a 7-6 loss.
Feb. 12, 1985 at Calgary -- Ties "Rocket" Richard for third on the all-time All-Star goals list. Richard scored seven in 13 games, Gretzky scored seven in six games.
Feb. 4, 1986 at Hartford -- Scores a goal to tie Frank Mahovlich for second on the all-time All-Star goals list.
Feb. 9, 1988 at St. Louis -- Scores a goal, second on all-time Al-Star goals list trailing only Gordie Howe.
Feb. 7, 1989 at Edmonton -- Returns to the Edmonton Coliseum after being traded to the Los Angeles Kings prior to the season. Records a goal, tying Gordie Howe as the leading scorer, and added two assists to lead the game in points. Captures his second MVP award. The game sets a record for goals scored in an All-Star Game (14).
Jan. 19, 1991 at Chicago -- Scores to become the all-time goals leader in All-Star Game history.
Jan. 18, 1992 at Philadelphia -- Posts two assists, helping linemate Brett Hull capture the MVP award. Campbell Conference wins 10-6, setting a record for goals in an All-Star Game (16)
Jan. 22, 1994 at New York -- Posts two assists in a 9-8 loss.
Jan. 18, 1997 at San Jose -- Plays with Mario Lemieux for the first time in an NHL All-Star Game. Posts an assist on a Lemieux goal. Surpasses Frank Mahovlich record of 15 consecutive All-Star Games.
Jan. 18, 1998 at Vancouver -- Records two assists to surpass Mario Lemieux as the all-time All-Star point leader. Assists on Messier's game-winning goal, marking the first time the former teammates have combined for an All-Star goal since 1983.
Jan. 24, 1999 at Tampa Bay -- Records a goal and two assists, tying the record for All-Star Game assists. Captures his third MVP award. He joins Lemieux with the most career MVP awards.
I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.
— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic