Wayne Douglas Gretzky, OC (//; born January 26, 1961) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player and former head coach. He played 21 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for four teams from 1979 to 1999. Nicknamed "The Great One", he has been called "the greatest hockey player ever" by many sportswriters, players, and the NHL itself. He is the leading point-scorer in NHL history, with more assists than any other player has points, and is the only NHL player to total over 200 points in one season – a feat he accomplished four times. In addition, he tallied over 100 points in 16 professional seasons, 14 of them consecutive. At the time of his retirement in 1999, he held 40 regular-season records, 15 playoff records, and six All-Star records. He won the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship and performance five times, and he often spoke out against fighting in hockey.
Born and raised in Brantford, Ontario, Gretzky honed his skills at a backyard rink and regularly played minor hockey at a level far above his peers. Despite his unimpressive stature, strength and speed, Gretzky's intelligence and reading of the game were unrivaled. He was adept at dodging checks from opposing players, and he could consistently anticipate where the puck was going to be and execute the right move at the right time. Gretzky also became known for setting up behind his opponent's net, an area that was nicknamed "Gretzky's office".
The National Hockey League (NHL; French: Ligue nationale de hockey—LNH) is an "unincorporated not-for-profit association" which operates a major professional ice hockey league. Currently there are 30 franchised member clubs, 23 located in the United States and 7 in Canada. Headquartered in New York City, the NHL is widely considered to be the premier professional ice hockey league in the world, and one of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. The Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, is awarded annually to the league playoff champion at the end of each season.
The league was organized on November 27, 1917, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, after the suspension of operations of its predecessor organization, the National Hockey Association (NHA), which had been founded in 1909. It started with four teams (all based in Canada) and, through a series of expansions, contractions, and relocations, is now composed of thirty active franchises. The "nation" referred to by the league's name was Canada, although the league has now been binational since 1924 when it expanded into the United States. After a labour dispute that led to the cancellation of the entire 2004–05 season, the league resumed play under a new collective bargaining agreement that included a salary cap. In 2009, the NHL enjoyed record highs in terms of sponsorships, attendance, and television audiences.
The Los Angeles Kings are a professional ice hockey team based in Los Angeles, California. They are members of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The team was founded on February 9, 1966, when Jack Kent Cooke was awarded an NHL expansion franchise for Los Angeles, becoming one of the six teams that began play as part of the 1967 NHL expansion. The Kings called The Forum in Inglewood, California (a suburb of Los Angeles), their home for thirty-two years until they moved to the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles to start the 1999–2000 season.
The Edmonton Oilers are a professional ice hockey team based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. They are members of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL).
The 40th National Hockey League All-Star Game was held in the Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton, Alberta, home to the Edmonton Oilers, on February 7, 1989.
The previous year saw the then-unthinkable trade of Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings, a move that shocked many Canadians, but allowed the NHL to expand into new American markets. As Gretzky was a no-brainer to be a starter due to the fan-balloting process, the game was highly touted as Gretzky's return to Edmonton (despite the Kings having faced the Oilers in Edmonton earlier in the season). To this extent, even Campbell conference coach Glen Sather reserved Gretzky's old stall in the Oilers' dressing room, and he played on the line with then-current linemate Luc Robitaille and former linemate Jari Kurri. Gretzky was warmly welcomed in Edmonton, and for his part, scored a goal and two assists and earning the ceremonial car as the game's MVP (which he promptly gave to friend and former linemate Dave Semenko).
The 35th National Hockey League All-Star Game was held on February 8, 1983, at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, home to the New York Islanders. In the game, Edmonton Oilers' centre Wayne Gretzky set an All-Star Game record by scoring all of his four goals in the third period. Gretzky's four goal performance was instrumental in winning his first All-Star M.V.P. honor. Wayne Gretzky's Edmonton Oilers' linemate Mark Messier assisted on three of the four goals in the third period to set an All-Star Game record for most assists in a period.
The New York Rangers are a professional ice hockey team based in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. They are members of the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). Playing their home games at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers are one of the oldest teams in the NHL, having joined in 1926 as an expansion franchise. They are part of the group of teams referred to as the Original Six, along with the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, and Toronto Maple Leafs. The Rangers were the first NHL franchise in the United States to win the Stanley Cup, which they have done four times, most recently in 1993–94.
The St. Louis Blues are a professional ice hockey team in St. Louis, Missouri. They are members of the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The team is named after the famous W. C. Handy song "Saint Louis Blues", and plays in the 19,150-seat Scottrade Center in downtown St. Louis. The franchise was founded in 1967 as one of the expansion teams during the league's original expansion from six to twelve teams. The Blues are the oldest extant NHL team that has never won the Stanley Cup.