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This Date in NHL History

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

Plus: Bowman named Penguins coach; Alfredsson becomes captain of Senators

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

Oilers retire Gretzky's No. 99

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 before 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 says 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, it kills me," he says of continuing to play, "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 scores the first shorthanded, game-winning goal in the history of the NHL All-Star Game. The goal gives the All-Stars a 2-1 victory against the Stanley Cup-champion Montreal Canadiens.

 

1991: The Pittsburgh Penguins name Scotty Bowman coach. Bowman steps in for Bob Johnson, who is ill and dies on Nov. 26. Bowman 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 defeat 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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