Wayne Gretzky (born January 26, 1961 in Brantford, Ontario) known as "The Great One", was a Canadian ice hockey player in the National Hockey League (NHL) for 20 seasons. He was coach and part-owner of the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes until he stepped down on September 24, 2009. He also managed Canada's Olympic hockey teams in 2002 and 2006, as well as Canada's 2004 World Cup of Hockey team.
Gretzky was a star junior player with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League. In 1978, when he was 17, he began playing as a professional with the Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association (WHA), but was sold to the Edmonton Oilers after only a few games. He was third in WHA scoring and rookie of the year.
The WHA folded in 1979, and the Oilers team joined the NHL. At the age of 19, Gretzky won his first Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player (MVP). He won this trophy nine times. In 1981, he won his first of ten Art Ross Trophies as NHL scoring champion. He set many records in the 1980s, including most goals (92), assists (163), and points (215) in a season. In the 1981-82 season, he scored 50 goals in 39 games, when the record had been 50 games. He was named as Sports Illustrated athlete of the year in 1982. He was also called "the greatest player of all time" in Total Hockey: The Official Encyclopedia of the NHL.
Gretzky won four Stanley Cup championships with the Edmonton Oilers: 1984, 1985, 1987, and 1988. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP in the playoffs in 1985 and 1988. Then, in 1988, he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. He helped them to the finals in 1993. In 1996, he was traded to the St. Louis Blues, and signed with the New York Rangers at the beginning of the 1996-97 season. He retired, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, in 1999.
When he retired, he had 2857 career points, over 1000 more than the next highest player. To this day, no one else has reached 2000. He still holds the record for most career goals (894) and assists (1963) (he has more assists than anyone else has points). He holds many other records, such as most 100-point seasons (15), most points in the playoffs (47 in one year and 382 career), and most games in a row with at least one point (51). He was named to the first or second all-star team 15 times and was MVP of the NHL all-star game three times. He had 61 official NHL records when he retired.
Gretzky's number, #99, was retired by the entire league. He was named Canada's male athlete of the 20th century. He has also been honoured with Canada's highest honour for a civilian: the Order of Canada.
Gretzky married American actress Janet Jones in 1988. They have five children: Paulina, Ty, Trevor, Tristan, and Emma.