Tuesday, September 27, 2016

NHL Names Wayne Gretzky Centennial Ambassador

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The National Hockey League announced today that the incomparable Wayne Gretzky will serve as the official Centennial Ambassador in conjunction with its year-long celebration in 2017.

    Gretzky, the NHL’s all-time leader in goals (894), assists (1,963) and points (2,857) as well as numerous other records, will make appearances at various events throughout the calendar year celebration, which commences Jan. 1, 2017, with the NHL Centennial Classic between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings at BMO Field in Toronto.

    A four-time Stanley Cup winner as captain of the Edmonton Oilers (1983-84, 1984-85, 1986-87 and 1987-88), Gretzky dominated the NHL unlike any other player in history. He captured nine Hart Memorial Trophies as League MVP, including eight straight beginning with his first NHL season in 1979-80. He also won 10 Art Ross Trophies, five Ted Lindsay Awards, five Lady Byng Memorial Trophies and two Conn Smythe Trophies; was voted to 15 postseason All-Star teams (eight First Team, seven Second Team); and skated in 18 All-Star Games.

    Gretzky, who played for the Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers, appeared in 20 NHL seasons from 1979-80 through 1998-99. Along the way he thrilled NHL fans with a succession of record-shattering performances, including single-season marks for goals (92), assists (163) and points (215); 50 goals in his team’s first 39 games in 1981-82; a point streak of 51 games to start the 1983-84 campaign; and an all-time playoff scoring record with 47 points in 1984-85.

    The Brantford, Ont., native skated in his last game on April 18, 1999, at Madison Square Garden (vs. PIT) and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame that June, becoming the 10th and last player to bypass the three-year waiting period. The NHL also retired Gretzky’s No. 99 jersey, making him the first and only player in League history to earn that honor.

    Gretzky’s tireless support of the game has contributed significantly to the popularity it enjoys today. He received the Lester Patrick Trophy in 1994 for outstanding service to hockey in the United States, and was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2009 “for his continued contributions to the world of hockey, notably, as one of the best players of all time, as well as for his social engagement as a philanthropist, volunteer and role model for countless young people.”

Among Gretzky’s NHL records:

Career Goals, Regular Season: 894
Career Assists, Regular Season; 1,963
Career Points, Regular Season: 2,857
Career Hat Tricks, Regular Season: 50

Career Goals, Playoffs: 122
Career Assists, Playoffs: 260
Career Points, Playoffs: 382
Career Hat Tricks, Playoffs: 10
Career Game-Winning Goals, Playoffs: 24*

Goals, Single Regular Season: 92 (1981-82)
Assists, Single Regular Season: 163 (1985-86)
Points, Single Regular Season: 215 (1985-86)
Hat Tricks, Single Regular Season: 10 (1981-82 and 1983-84)
Point Streak, Single Regular Season: 51 (1983-84)

Fewest Games to 50 Goals, From Start of Season: 39 (1981-82)
Most Goals in 50 Games, From Start of Season: 61 (1981-82 and 1983-84)

Career 40-Goal Seasons: 12
Career 50-Goal Seasons: 9*
Career 60-Goal Seasons: 5*
Career 100-Point Seasons: 15

Most Consecutive 40-Goal Seasons: 12
Most Consecutive 60-Goal Seasons: 4
Most Consecutive 100-Point Seasons: 13

Assists, Single Playoff Year: 31 (1987-88)
Points, Single Playoff Year: 47 (1984-85)
* Shared record

    Other Gretzky notes:

First NHL Goal: Oct. 14, 1979 vs. VAN (Glen Hanlon)
500th NHL Goal: Nov. 22, 1986 vs. VAN (EN)
802nd NHL Goal: March 23, 1994 vs. VAN (Kirk McLean)
Last NHL Goal: March 29, 1999 vs. NYI (Wade Flaherty)

First NHL Assist: Oct. 10, 1979 at CHI
1,050th NHL Assist: March 1, 1988 vs. LAK
Last NHL Assist: April 18, 1999 vs. PIT

First NHL Point: Oct. 10, 1979 at CHI (Assist)
1,851st NHL Point: Oct. 15, 1989 at EDM (Goal)
Last NHL Point: April 18, 1999 vs. PIT (Assist)

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