Wayne Douglas Gretzky
Wayne Douglas Gretzky was born on January, 29, 1961. He is a canadian hockey player of Belorussian origin, center forward, one of the most well-known athletes of XX century. The greatest hockey player of all times. From 1978-1988 he played for the club, "Edmonton Oilers", which four times won the Stanley Cup. In the National Hockey League, where Gretzky was nicknamed "the Great One", he set a record 61 times and won the League individual prizes (including 9 most valuable player awards and 10 - scorer of the season). He was among five athletes which set the Olympic flame afire in 2010 in Vancouver. He went into the Team of the Century «Centennial All-Star Team» of International Ice Hockey Federation.
At the beginning of XX century Wayne Gretzky’s grandfather Terence Gretzky, immigrated to Canada from Grodno region of the Russian Empire (now it is Belarus). There he married a Ukrainian Mary from town Pidhaytsi (today Ternopil, Ukraine). Terence Gretzky was a farmer, during the Second World War he served in the Canadian Army. According to the memories of Wayne, he was very close with his grandfather. As a child he came to his farm every summer, his grandfather speak Belarusian, and Slavic language that spoke in the family, was a Ukrainian. Neither grandfather nor father of Wayne, Walter, had the relationship to the sport. But when Wayne started playing hockey, his grandfather and father supported him in this endeavor.
Since childhood, Gretzky often played for the guys who were older than him by a few years. In five years, Gretzky played for the youth team Brentford. At 6 years old Gretzky played with a 10-year-old boys. When Wayne Gretzky was 10, he appeared in the children's league and during a season he scored 378 goals and made 139 transfers in 85 games. These figures are an absolute record for a boy of his age.
At age 14, Gretzky was playing against 20-year-olds. Played well at the international tournament in Quebec, he almost became a victim of an enthusiastic crowd of fans who wanted to get his autograph. In 1975, Gretzky retired from Brentford for continuing professional career.
Season 1977/78 he played for the junior team "Greyhaunds" from the Ontario Hockey League and scored 70 goals. Under the original number "99" (the number that is now in hockey will always be associated with his name) Gretzky took the ice for the first time, just playing for this team. He wanted to be like his idol, Gordie Howe, who played under the number "9." But nine was already occupied, and Wayne, having played first few weeks at number "19", selected on the advice of the General Manager "Greyhaunds" Murray McPherson, the number "99".
While playing on the junior world championships in Montreal in 1978 at age 16, he became the youngest in the tournament. After finishing the championship in first place in the list of top scorers, Gretzky was selected to All-Star team and named the best forward championship.
In 1978, Gretzky was in the World Hockey Association, where were no restrictions for signing contracts with the juniors. American Club "Indianapolis Reysers" concluded the 17-year-old Gretzky contract worth about $ 100 000.
In May 1978, Gretzky made his debut in the big hockey, and in the same month, "Indianapolis" traded Gretzky to the "Edmonton Oilers" - a club that thanks to Wayne and his partner was one of the best teams in North American hockey. In the first season, Gretzky scored 46 goals and scored 110 points. A little later, he was named best newcomer to the WHA.
During the second year in the NHL Gretzky won the first of ten titles (seven of them - in a row) of the League's top scorer, received the "Art Ross Trophy" and set a new NHL record for the number of gears (109) and points (164) scored a season . December 30, 1981 in a match against "Philadelphia" Gretzky scored his 50th goal of the season: this took him only 39 games. Prior to that, a similar rate of different only Maurice Richard and Mike Bossy: 50 goals in 50 league games.
From season 1981-82. "Oilers" for six consecutive years, won more than 100 points in the regular season and four times - in 1984, 1985, 1987 and 1988 - won the Stanley Cup. "Victims" of Edmonton in the finals became "New York Islanders" double "Philadelphia Flyers" and once "the Boston Bruins." After the first, in 1984, Gretzky and won the title The Great One".
August 9, 1988 Wayne Gretzky suddenly became a central figure in one of the biggest deals in the history of the NHL: the owner of "Edmonton" Peter Pocklington decided to trade him in "Los Angeles Kings", one of the weakest teams in the league. As compensation, "Oilers" got Jimmy Corson, Martin Gelinas, the right of choice in the first round draft pick in 1989, 1991 and 1993 and $ 15 million.
After moving to a new club, Wayne went on beating his own records as well as records of his new club and the NHL. In 1989, Gretzky for the ninth time in his career won the "Hart" Wayne became the first player in the history of "King," which was honored to receive this award.
In 1989 Wayne became an absolutely the best scorer in NHL history.
October 26, 1997 Gretzky made his 1851 pass.
March 29, 1999 Gretzky was again in the history of hockey, when scored his 1,072 th goal in the NHL. Wayne again ahead of his childhood idol - Gordie Howe: this forward for a performance in the NHL and WHA teams scored a total of 1071 votes cast.
April 18, 1999 Gretzky said goodbye to hockey.
According to the rules, the name of a hockey player can be immortalized in the famous Hockey Hall of Fame (Toronto) not earlier than three years after his retirement. Gretzky - one of the few for whom an exception was made: by 22 November 1999, after 7 months of his last match, he was in the Hall of Fame. He also provided another unique honor: No. 99, under which he performed throughout his career, is assigned to him in the NHL forever, and no hockey player in the NHL can wear a sweater with this number.
In 2000-2009 Gretzky was co-owner of the NHL club "Phoenix Coyotes" and in 2005-2009 he was its head coach. He is also engaged in other business: he owns a restaurant, produces its own line of men's clothing, filming a commercial, etc. In 2002, Team Canada, where Gretzky was the general manager, won the Olympic hockey tournament in Salt Lake City.
January 30, 2010. Great Canadian hockey player met his Belarusian relatives in Minsk.