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This Date in NHL History

Oct. 1: Wayne Gretzky's No. 99 retired

Plus: Scotty Bowman becomes Penguins interim coach; Daniel Alfredsson named Senators captain

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

Oilers retire Gretzky #99 sweater

Wayne Gretzky's No. 99 retired by the Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers retire "the Great One" Wayne Gretzky's No. 99 sweater in an emotional opening night pregame ceremony

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THIS DATE IN HISTORY: Oct. 1

1999: The Edmonton Oilers raise Wayne Gretzky's No. 99 to the rafters at Skyreach Centre prior to their season-opening 1-1 tie against the New York Rangers.

Gretzky gets a five-minute standing ovation from a crowd of more than 17,000 that includes his family and many former teammates. He's hugged by former coach Glen Sather, and given a portrait by longtime Oilers teammates Mark Messier, Jari Kurri and Dave Semenko.

Gretzky said he accepted his retirement decision the moment he announced it in the final week of the 1998-99 season; he played his final NHL game on April 18, 1999 with the Rangers.

"The fact I can't do it [play hockey], it kills me," he said, "but I've got peace of mind because it was time to move on.

"When I saw that banner go up, there was no turning back."

 

MORE MOMENTS

1960: Rangers forward Andy Hebenton makes the only All-Star Game appearance of his NHL career one to remember by scoring the first shorthanded, game-winning goal in all-star history. The goal gives the all-stars a 2-1 victory against the Stanley Cup-champion Montreal Canadiens.

 

1991: The Pittsburgh Penguins name Scotty Bowman as their interim coach. Bowman steps in for Bob Johnson, who's seriously ill and dies on Nov. 26. He goes on to lead the Penguins to the Stanley Cup for the second straight season.

 

1997: Lindy Ruff is a winner in his NHL coaching debut when the Buffalo Sabres defeated the St. Louis Blues 3-1.

 

1999: Daniel Alfredsson is named captain of the Ottawa Senators, a position he holds for the next 14 years until signing as a free agent with the Detroit Red Wings.

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