Happy 60th Birthday to Wayne Gretzky – The Great One!
One of the best, if not the best, to ever lace up a pair of skates celebrates his big 60th Birthday today and we at Puck Prose wanted to pay tribute to Wayne Gretzky, who still to this day makes a sizeable impact on the National Hockey League.
It is perhaps fitting that there will be 13 games on across the NHL tonight, a fine way to mark the Birthday of one of the game’s greatest sons, and Wayne Gretzky will no doubt be pulling for the Edmonton Oilers to beat the Winnipeg Jets, while he will also no doubt have a rooted interest in games involving the LA Kings, the St. Louis Blues and the New York Rangers given that he also played for those franchises.
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The fact that Gretzky is celebrating a milestone birthday today just allows us to reflect on some of his greatest achievements in the game, of which there are a plethora. With four Stanley Cups, a nine-time Hart Trophy winner, a two-time Conn Smythe Trophy winner, a five time Lady Byng Trophy winner, a 10 time Art Ross Trophy winner, a 15 time All-Star and the holder or joint holder of over 60 NHL records, there is a reason the Hall of Famer is referred to as The Great One.
We were tempted to go through some of Gretzky’s greatest moments but, in truth, it is almost impossible just to pick a handful given the boatload of outstanding moments No. 99 was responsible for. After all, he’s the NHL’s all-time leader in goals (894), assists (1,963) and points (2,857) and his accomplishments are unlikely to ever be matched.
I mean, just go and type Wayne Gretzky into YouTube and you could get lost for hours watching footage and clips of The Great One in full flow, with the former forward boasting elite talent and skill that allowed him to execute breathtaking and jaw-dropping plays that very few others could dream of, let alone pull off.
Paying tribute to Wayne Gretzky on his 60th Birthday
Being a diehard New York Rangers fan, it still fills me with immense pride that Gretzky pulled on that famous, iconic jersey and, while he was in the back nine of his career by the time he got to Madison Square Garden, he still put on a hell of a show at the World’s Most Famous Arena with 249 points (57 G, 192 A) in 234 career regular-season games for the Blueshirts.
I didn’t have the honor of watching Wayne Gretzky live but, as I’ve mentioned on other websites, he played a huge role in a guy from England, where soccer is king, become a passionate and diehard hockey fan. Once I saw my first Rangers game on ESPN, I became hooked and I was soon digesting hours and hours of footage of The Great One, with his majestic play on the ice helping to spark my love affair with the greatest sport in the world.
Wayne Gretzky is to me what Michael Jordan is to Basketball fans, what Babe Ruth is to Baseball and what Tiger Woods is to Golf, he’s sporting royalty and he is a god in my eyes. He is forever enshrined in hockey’s rich tapestry and he would be the first face etched into a Hockey Mount Rushmore, along with the legendary Gordie Howe.
And, with nhl.com celebrating The Great One’s Birthday all day long, some of the facts and stats are just brain-exploding in terms of how incredible they are, like the fact that Gretzky once had a point in 60 consecutive regular-season games from March 13, 1983 to Jan. 27, 1984, one day after his 23rd Birthday, with no less than a total of 181 points (70 G, 111 A) in that span. Just incredible.
There’s also this stat with Gretzky scoring 60 hat tricks in his legendary career – which seems fitting to throw out there today – where he holds NHL records for the most hat tricks in the regular-season (50) and in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (10). Wayne Gretzky also loved playing on his Birthday, posting 24 points (10 G, 14 A) in 10 career games on Jan. 26, while he celebrated his 30th Birthday on Jan. 26, 1991 by posting a five-point night (3 G, 2 A) against the Vancouver Canucks.
Overall, Wayne Gretzky was one of the best to have ever played the game we all love and his incredible legacy speaks for itself. He inspired so many to lace up the skates and pick up a hockey stick and his fingertips can be found all over the NHL today. So, on what is his 60th Birthday, have the best day, The Great One!