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Last Updated: May 22, 2019

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Wayne Gretzky Retired from the NHL on April 18, 1999

Introduction

On this day 20 years ago, Wayne Gretzky played in the last NHL hockey game of his illustrious and amazing career. On April 18th, 1999 at Madison Square Garden Wayne Gretzky participated in his last professional hockey game as a player as his New York Rangers lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 2 – 1 overtime loss.

Wayne Gretzky, who is nick named The Great One”, dominated the sport of NHL professional hockey like no one has ever done before and will most likely never do again. He not only owns many of biggest NHL records, but he is so far ahead of other players in many of these historic statistical marks that most people consider the majority of his records to be safe from ever being beaten by someone else.

Unheard of Occurrences During Wayne Gretzky’s Last NHL Game

Warm-ups began with chants of “Gretzky, Gretzky” for three straight minutes. During the Star Spangled Banner and the O Canada anthems, singers John Amirante and Bryan Adams changed part of the lyrics to in the land of Wayne Gretzky and We’re going to miss you Gretzky" (respectively), while Gordie Howe and Michael Jordan appeared in video tributes.

After the final buzzer, “The Great One” skated four laps around the rink, saying goodbye to the sport he dominated for so many years while the fans cheered. He finished his career with 60 NHL records, including all-time scorer (2,857), most MVP awards (nine Hart Trophies) and most hat tricks (10) in the playoffs.

It completely blows my mind that the lyrics of the national anthems of two countries were altered to honor an athlete. Wayne Gretzky meant so much to the great game of professional hockey that his tribute was on an unprecedented level. Just take a look below at his NHL records, awards, and honors that are absolutely stunning.

Regular Season Records

  1. Most goals: 894 in 1,487 games
  2. 2Most goals, including playoffs: 1,016 in 1,487 regular season games including 122 playoff goals
  3. Most goals, one season: 92 in 1981–82, 80-game schedule
  4. Most goals, one season, including playoffs: 100 in 1983–84, 87 goals in 74 regular season games and 13 goals in 19 playoff games
  5. Most goals, 50 games from start of season: 61 in 1981–82 (7 October 1981 to 22 January 1982, 80-game schedule) and 1983–84 (5 October 1983 to 25 January 1984), 80-game schedule
  6. Most goals, one period: 4 (Tied with 10 other players) 18 February 1981
  7. Most assists: 1,963
  8. Most assists, including playoffs: 2,223
  9. Most assists, one season: 163 in 1985–86, 80-game schedule
  10. Most assists, one season, including playoffs: 174 in 1985–86, 163 assists in 80 regular season games and 11 assists in 10 playoff games
  11. Most assists, one game: 7 (tied with Billy "The Kid" Taylor) on three occasions—16 February 1980; 12 December 1985; 15 February 1986
  12. Most assists, one road game: 7 (tied with Billy "The Kid" Taylor) 11 December 1985
  13. Most points: 2,857 in 1,487 games (894 goals, 1,963 assists)
  14. Most points, including playoffs: 3,239 in 1,487 regular season and 208 playoff games. (1016 goals, 2223 assists)
  15. Most points, one season: 215 in 1985–86, 80-game schedule (52 goals, 163 assists)
  16. Most points, one season, including playoffs: 255 in 1984–85; 208 points in 80 regular season games and 47 points in 18 playoff games
  17. Most goals by a center, career: 894
  18. Most goals by a center, one season: 92 in 1981–82, 80-game schedule
  19. Most assists by a center, career: 1,963
  20. Most assists by a center, one season: 163 in 1985–86, 80-game schedule
  21. Most points by a center, career: 2,857
  22. Most points by a center, one season: 215 in 1985–86, 80-game schedule
  23. Most assists in one game by a player in his first season: 7 on 15 February 1980
  24. Highest goals-per-game average, one season: 1.18 in 1983–84, 87 goals in 74 games
  25. Highest assists-per-game average, career (300 min.): 1.321 -- 1,963 assists in 1,487 games
  26. Highest assists-per-game average, one season: 2.04 in 1985–86, 163 assists in 80 games
  27. Highest points-per-game average, one season (among players with 50-or-more points): 2.77 in 1983–84, 205 points in 74 games
  28. Highest points-per-game average, career: 1.921
  29. Most 40-or-more goal seasons: 12 in 20 seasons
  30. Most consecutive 40-or-more goal seasons: 12 from 1979–80 to 1990–91
  31. Most 50-or-more goal seasons: 9 (tied with Mike Bossy)
  32. Most 60-or-more goal seasons: 5 (tied with Mike Bossy)
  33. Most consecutive 60-or-more goals seasons: 4 from 1981–82 to 1984–85
  34. Most 100-or-more point seasons: 15
  35. Most consecutive 100-or-more point seasons: 13 from 1979–80 to 1991–92
  36. Most three-or-more goal games, career: 50 -- 37 three-goal (hat trick) games; nine four-goal games; four five-goal games
  37. Most three goal games, one season: 10 (done twice) in 1981–82 and 1983–84
  38. Longest consecutive assist scoring streak: 23 games in 1990–91, 48 assists
  39. Longest consecutive point-scoring streak: 51 Games in 1983–84 (October 5, 1983 to January 28, 1984, 61 goals, 92 assists for 153 points)
  40. Longest consecutive point-scoring streak from start of season: 51 in 1983–84; 61 goals, 92 assists for 153 points (October 5, 1983 to January 28, 1984)

Playoff Records

  1. Most playoff goals, career: 122
  2. Most playoff assists, career: 260
  3. Most assists, one playoff year: 31 in 1988 (19 games)
  4. Most assists in one series: 14 (tied with Rick Middleton) in 1985 Conference Finals (six games vs. Chicago)
  5. Most assists in final series: 10 in 1988 (four games, plus suspended game vs. Boston)
  6. Most assists, one playoff game: 6 (tied with Mikko Leinonen) on 9 April 1987
  7. Most assists, one playoff period: 3 -- Three assists by one player in one period of a playoff game has been recorded on 70 occasions, five of them by Gretzky
  8. Most points, career: 382 -- 122 goals and 260 assists
  9. Most points, one playoff year: 47 in 1985 (17 goals and 30 assists in 18 games)
  10. Most points in final series: 13 in 1988 three goals and 10 assists (four games plus suspended game vs. Boston, three goals)
  11. Most points, one playoff period: 4 (tied with nine other players
  12. Most short-handed goals, one playoff year: 3 (tied with five other players) 1983
  13. Most short-handed goals, one playoff game: 2 (tied with eight other players) 6 April 1983
  14. Most game-winning goals in playoffs, career: 24 (tied with Brett Hull)
  15. Most three-or-more goals games (hat trick): 10 (eight three-goal games, two four-goal games)

All Star Records

  1. Most All-Star game goals, career: 13 (in 18 games played)
  2. Most All-Star game goals, one game: 4 (tied with three players) 1983 Campbell Conference
  3. Most All-Star game goals, one period: 4 1983 Campbell Conference, third period
  4. Most All-Star game points, career: 25 (13 goals, 12 assists in 18 games)
  5. Most All-Star game points, one period: 4 (tied with Mike Gartner and Adam Oates) 1983 Campbell Conference, third period (four goals)

Awards

  • Lou Kaplan Trophy (WHA rookie of the year) — 1979
  • Hart Memorial Trophy (most valuable player) — 1980–87, 1989
  • Art Ross Trophy (scoring champion) — 1981–87, 1990, 1991, 1994
  • Charlie Conacher Humanitarian Award — 1980
  • Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff most valuable player) — 1985, 1988
  • Lester B. Pearson Award (outstanding player, voted by the players) — 1982–85, 1987
  • Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (sportsmanship) — 1980, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1999
  • NHL Plus-Minus Award (best plus-minus rating; formerly Emery Edge Trophy) — 1984, 1985, 1987 (league leader in 1982 no award)
  • Stanley Cup — 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988
  • Canada Cup — 1984, 1987, 1991
  • Clarence S. Campbell Bowl (Western Conference Champions) — 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1993
  • Presidents' Trophy (NHL Regular Season Champion) — 1986, 1987
  • Chrysler-Dodge/NHL Performer of the Year — 1985, 1986, 1987
  • Lester Patrick Trophy (outstanding service to hockey in the United States) — 1994
  • Lou Marsh Trophy (Canadian athlete of the year) — 1982, 1983, 1985, 1989
  • Lionel Conacher Award (Canadian male athlete of the year) — 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1989, 1999
  • NHL All-Star Game MVP — 1983, 1989, 1999
  • NHL MVP — Rendez-vous '87
  • Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year — 1982
  • Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year — 1982
  • New York Rangers MVP — 1997-98
  • Olympic Gold - Hockey (as Executive Director-Manager) — 2002
  • World Cup of Hockey Champion (as Executive Director-Manager) — 2004

Honors

  • 8-Time All-NHL First Team (1981–87, 1991)
  • 7-Time All-NHL Second Team (1980, 1988–90, 1994, 1997, 1998)
  • All-WHA Second Team — 1979
  • In 1998, he was ranked number 1 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players
  • Hockey Hall of Fame 1999 Inductee (Three year waiting period post retirement waived)
  • Officer of the Order of Canada
  • First international recipient of the Horatio Alger Award
  • Received star on Canada's Walk of Fame
  • AP-Athlete Of The Decade, 1980s
  • Ranked #1 Canadian Athlete of the Century
  • Sports Illustrated's Hockey Player of the Century
  • Ranked #5 in both ESPN Sports Century's and the Associated Press's Top 100 Athletes of the 20th Century (Behind Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, Jim Brown (ESPN) and Jim Thorpe (AP)
  • In 2007, he was ranked number 1 in The Hockey News' book The Top 60 Since 1967
  • In 2010, he was elected as an inaugural inductee into the World Hockey Association Hall of Fame in the "Legends of the Game" category.
  • IIHF Centennial All-Star Team
  • Jersey number 99 retired league-wide by NHL

After reading all of the above career accomplishments and achievements it is easy to see that Wayne Gretzky was the greatest hockey player ever, and he goes down in history as such. In fact, it’s safe to say that he’s one of the greatest overall athletes of all time as well.

Source:

"This Day In Sports: Wayne Gretzky finishes a great career", espn.com, April 18, 2019


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