Wayne Gretzky -- the greatest player in the history of
hockey -- 43, announced his retirement as a player on April 16, 1999 after 20 seasons in
which he dominated the National Hockey League unlike any player in history. Gretzky helped win
four Stanley Cup Championships and three Canada Cup tournament titles during his illustrious
career. He became the NHL's all-time leading goal, assist and point producer for both regular
season and playoffs. Gretzky won 10 Art Ross Trophies as the NHL's leading scorer, nine Hart
Trophies as the League's MVP and two Conn Smythe Trophies as playoff MVP. He earned five Lady
Byng Trophies as the NHL's most gentlemanly player and made 18 consecutive All-Star Game
appearances, securing three All-Star MVP Awards. Gretzky is an eight-time First All-Star
Team member and seven-time Second All-Star Team member. He holds virtually every offensive
record in the NHL and his tireless support of the game has contributed significantly to the
popularity it enjoys today. ESPN named Wayne Gretzky the fifth greatest athlete of the 20th
century. Wayne Gretzky, the most honored player in a team sport with nine MVP awards and the
only player in NHL history to record more than 200 points in a season, was voted No. 5 among
North American athletes by SportsCentury's distinguished 48-person panel. Only Michael Jordan,
Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown preceded him.
Wayne Gretzky received another accolade on June 5, 2000, when the Edmonton
icon accepted his honorary University of Alberta doctor of laws degree for contributing to sport
and community at the Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton, Alberta. In January of 2003, Wheaties ("The
Breakfast of Champions") honored Gretzky by releasing a special-edition Wheaties box in recognition
of his great playing career. In April of 2003, Gretzky was named the first recipient of the
International Horatio Alger Award, marking the first time in the history of the Horatio Alger
Association of Distinguished Americans that a member of the international community was formally
bestowed an award by the prestigious organization.
The restaurant in Toronto that bears his name, Wayne Gretzky's, is now in it's
12th year. A two-disc DVD of Wayne's career highlights, Ultimate Gretzky, was released by Warner
Brothers in November 2003. The Wayne Gretzky Fantasy Camp has enjoyed two successful years in
Scottsdale, Arizona and will move to Los Angeles, California for 2005.
The Wayne Gretzky Foundation is dedicated to helping disadvantaged youngsters
throughout North America participate in hockey. The Foundation has held two successful hockey
equipment drives in partnership with Ford Canada and raised over $120,000 at its first Golf
Classic in April 2004.
For two decades, the ethereal Wayne Gretzky lifted hockey to new and dizzying
heights while establishing himself as the greatest player of all time. He transcended hockey and
was the most statistically dominant player in the history of North American team sports, an athlete
who ranks with basketball's Michael Jordan and soccer's Pele as one of the greatest offensive forces
in the history of any sport and a man whose name is mentioned in the same breath as Muhammad Ali as
one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century.