The name Wayne Gretzky means many things to many people.
For most, it simply means hockey.
He retired on April 18, 1999 with 61 NHL records. Since then, only one – most career assists in the All-Star Game – has been broken.
The move that brought him to Los Angeles will probably forever be the biggest trade in sports history. Gretzky played 539 regular season and another 60 playoff games for the Los Angeles Kings. Of course, there were many memorable moments.
In honor of Wayne’s 50th birthday today we have a quick poll question – Which of his nearly 600 Kings games was most memorable?
The leading candidates…
October 6, 1988 vs. Detroit – in his first game as a King, Gretzky scores a goal on his first shot
October 15, 1989 – in a game that only Hollywood script writers could come up with, Gretzky returns to Edmonton and scores his 1,851st point in the final minute of the game, setting the all-time NHL record for most points (video)
Game Six 1993 Campbell Conference Finals – prior to the game columnist Bob McKenzie noted that Gretzky was playing like he had a piano on his back throughout the series with Toronto. The Great One then went out and proved you don’t call out a legend like that, scoring the game winner in overtime for the Kings. He also high sticked Doug Gilmour a few minutes earlier in a play that Leaf fans will forever claim should have been a penalty (full story here).
Game Seven 1993 Campbell Conference Finals – one of the greatest games in one of the greatest playoff series in NHL history. Gretzky scores a hat-trick, with the third goal coming on a play where he circled behind the net and backhanded it off the skate of Leafs defenseman Dave Ellet. Kings win the game and go on to play for the Stanley Cup (video highlights here).
December 28, 1993 vs. Vancouver Canucks – Gretzky bats a goal out of mid air, like a baseball player (video)
March 23, 1994 vs Vancouver Canucks – Gretzky scores goal 802, passing his childhood hero, Gordie Howe, for the most goals ever scored (tribute video shown at Forum)
February 26, 1996 vs. Winnipeg Jets – his final game as a King came at the end of a road trip through Canada. When the team landed back home at LAX, a press conference was called and the announcement was made, #99 had been traded to the St. Louis Blues.
Poll closes tomorrow at 11:30am PST.