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NHL Centennial

Wayne Gretzky enjoys visits to Hockey Hall of Fame

Recalls being told how to hold stick following poor showing in shooting game

by Dave Stubbs @Dave_Stubbs / NHL.com Columnist

Gretzky tells funny HHOF story

Gretzky tells hilarious Hockey Hall of Fame story

At the NHL Centennial press conference, Wayne Gretzky tells a hilarious story of being unrecognized during a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame

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TORONTO -- You have to duck to avoid being hit by the superhuman feats of Wayne Gretzky when you walk through the Hockey Hall of Fame.

And that's probably how it should be. After all, statistically, Gretzky is the greatest forward of all time.

On Tuesday, The Great One was introduced as the NHL's Centennial ambassador, the League soon to embark on an ambitious schedule of events that will touch all 30 of its markets across North America.

Not only did Gretzky rewrite the League's record book as a brilliant talent during his career, he did so as a fan of the game, respectful of the legends who had skated before him.

Gretzky's love of hockey history is strong to this day, the reason why he will be a large part of the Centennial celebration.

"I love every part of the Hall of Fame," he said Tuesday at Air Canada Centre. "It's heaven to me, I love it in there."

And he's had more than a little playful fun in hockey's shrine too, at least once wandering the exhibits incognito.

"A couple of years ago I took my son to the Hall of Fame," Gretzky said. "He was 11 or 12. I had a hat on. I just told him, 'Keep your head down.' We walked around for about two hours, we saw everything there was to see."

Of special interest to father and son was an interactive game in which you shoot pucks at a net.

"My son got out there and he was 4-for-5, and so he said, 'Dad, try it,'" Gretzky said. "So I said, 'OK,' and I got out there and I missed the first three shots I took."

A grin was working at the corners of his mouth by now.

"And the young man who was taking care of the line walked over to me and said, 'Sir, if you move your hand down the stick a little bit farther…'"

The media at Air Canada Centre erupted in laughter.

"I lifted my hat up and I said, 'If you go get me one of those pucks that are in there, there's 802 up there," Gretzky said through his laughter, referring to the goal that broke Gordie Howe's record. "My son killed himself laughing, and I got out of there."

 

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