He was born in Canada on January 26, 1961, in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. He started skating at the age of two. At the age of six, he started playing with older boys. In 1979-80, he played his first full NHL season for the Edmonton Oilers.
The NHL decade
Gretzky signed with the Indianapolis Racers in 1978. Soon after, the franchise closed its doors and sold Gretzky to the Edmonton Oilers of the NHL.
It was in 1979 that Gretzky was able to compete in the NHL for the first time. He quickly dominated the competition and accumulated 51 goals and 86 assists. He was honoured as the most valuable player in the league’s Hart Memorial Trophy.
It was in 1982 that he broke the 200-point barrier. He set a single-season record with 92 goals and 120 assists.
His best year was 1986. He totalled 52 goals and a record 163 assists in a single NHL season.
Gretzky’s fame was so great that he had an action figurine made. It was sold out on all the shelves in the country. In 1983, the Canadian government issued an official Gretzky’s dollar coin, making a legend of him.
In 1988, he led the Kings’ franchise. In 1993, they went to the Stanley Cup but lost to the Montreal Canadians in five games.
In 1996, Gretzky left with the St. Louis Blues. After one season, he moved to the New York Rangers, played three more years, and then retired in 1999.
Gretzky holds 61 NHL records. Among them are 894 goals, 1,963 assists, and 2,857 points.
He was the executive director of the Olympic program, which led to Canada winning the gold medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. He was the managing partner of the NHL Phoenix Coyotes in 2001 and the coach.
In 2009, he resigned from his position and is now in the restaurant and wine business with his family, in California.