"I don't think words can describe the emotion that I felt, and the feeling that I had," Gretzky said. "I was pretty tickled. It was a pretty fun moment."
Gretzky, playing for the Los Angeles Kings at the time, took a cross-ice pass from Marty McSorely before scoring the goal. Gretzky and McSorely were longtime teammates with the Edmonton Oilers before teaming up in Los Angeles.
Howe, who retired in 1980, scored 801 goals in 1,767 games over 26 seasons. Gretzky set the record playing in his 1,117th game and 15th season.
It was kind of touching. I didn't know really what to expect. I'm very appreciative and thankful for the people that supported me in my time here ... as I said, we'll move back to the area at some point in our life.
— Toronto coach Randy Carlyle on the video tribute and ovation he received in his first game back in Anaheim, a 3-1 win for the Maple Leafs