As a hockey blog, we would be remissed if we didn’t give a big, huge birthday shout out to the one…the only…the greatest of all time (aka the GOAT)…
Mr. Wayne Gretzky
The Great One turns 52 years young today! Born January 26, 1961 in Brantford, Ontario, Gretzky is without a doubt the best player to ever play the game. The numbers that he complied in his 20-year professional career are simply staggering.
894 goals. 1,963 assists. 2,857 career points.
In the 1981-1982 season, Gretzky had 212 points. 212 points, people. 92 of those were goals.
I just can’t even comprehend.
18-time NHL All-Star. 10 Art Ross Trophies. 9 Hart Trophies. 5 Lady Byngs. 4 Stanley Cups. 4 Lester B. Pearsons. 2 Conn Smythes.
All this coming from a man who by any hockey standards, especially today’s, was not built for hockey.
Wayne Gretzky is what you might refer to as a….
His size, strength, and basic athletic ability were nothing exceptional. As an 18-year-old rookie in 1979, he weight all of 160 lbs. And I’m pretty sure that was soaking wet, holding the Stanley Cup while wearing all of hockey equipment.
Then he ate some sandwiches and got his weight up to manly 185 lbs. By his own admission, he always finished dead last peripheral vision, flexibility, and strength during team testing. Apparently, he could only bench press 140 lbs.
So how did this guy become the greatest hockey player of all time?
He’s an alien.
Okay, so not really, but some have accused him of having some sort of extrasensory perception when it comes to hockey – “eyes in the back of his head” they called it. In reality, Gretzky’s intelligence and his ability to read the game was unparalleled.
He had an almost superhuman ability to anticipate the puck and where it would be on the ice. He was a creative player, an improviser able to make split second decisions on the ice and completely confuse his opponents.
He was an ellusive player. Denis Potvin once remarked that trying to hit Gretzky was like “wrapping your arms around fog.” Gretzky even has an area of the ice named for him. Forever more, the area behind the net will be referred to as “Gretzky’s Office.” (Which I also happen to think is an excellent name for a hockey bar.)
He had great flow, before flow was a “thing”.
He scored 50 goals in 39 games.
He inspires deep thoughts from movie man Kevin Smith.
Since retiring from the game in 1999, the Great One was immediately inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, the only player to ever have this honor. His infamous #99 jersey was retired league-wide.
Gretzky has kept busy as a coach, businessman, husband, father, and of all things, a wine maker.
So, we here at WUYS raise a glass of Wayne Gretzky Estates 2008 Pinot Nior to #99 and wish him a very happy birthday!