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Wayne Gretzky

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Biography

Wayne Douglas Gretzky, OC (born 26 January 1961 in Brantford, Ontario) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey player who is currently part-owner and head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes.

However, Skalbania needed money. He sold Gretzky to his former partner, and then-owner of the WHA's Edmonton Oilers, Peter Pocklington. Although the announced price was $850,000, Pocklington actually paid $700,000 to purchase Gretzky as well as two other Indianapolis players, goaltender Eddie Mio and forward Peter Driscoll.

After the World Hockey Association folded in 1979, the Edmonton Oilers and three other teams joined the NHL. Gretzky's success in the WHA carried over into the NHL, despite some critics suggesting he would flounder in what was considered the bigger, tougher, and more talented league.

In his first NHL season, 1979-80, Gretzky proved his critics wrong. He was awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy as the League's Most Valuable Player (the first of eight in a row) and tied for the scoring lead with Marcel Dionne with 137 points, which remains the most points by a first-year player. Although Gretzky played 79 games to Dionne's 80, Dionne was awarded the Art Ross Trophy since he scored more goals (53 vs. 51). Gretzky became the youngest player to score 50 goals but was not eligible for the Calder Memorial Trophy, given to the top NHL rookie, because of his previous year of professional experience. Instead, Boston Bruins' defenseman Ray Bourque won it. The rule was later changed.

Gretzky made his coaching debut on October 5, 2005, the opening night of the 2005-06 NHL season, losing 3-2 to the Vancouver Canucks. His first coaching victory was October 8, 2005, beating the Minnesota Wild 2-1. Gretzky took an indefinite leave of absence as coach on December 17, 2005 to care for his ill mother in Brantford, Ontario. His mother lost her battle to lung cancer two days later, passing away on December 19, 2005. Assistant coach Rick Tocchet assumed the position until Gretzky's return on December 28. Coyotes' CEO Jeff Shumway announced on June 5, 2006 that Gretzky has agreed to a new five-year contract to remain as head coach.

Janet was four months pregnant with Paulina when they married on July 17, 1988. "The Royal Wedding" was broadcast live throughout Canada from Edmonton's St. Joseph's Basilica, although neither Gretzky nor Jones is Roman Catholic. Members of the Fire Department acted as guards at the church steps. The event reportedly cost Gretzky over US$1 million. They have 4 other children: Ty Robert (b. July 9, 1990), Trevor Douglas (b. September 14, 1992), Tristan Wayne (b. August 2, 2000), and Emma Marie (b. March 28, 2003). Gretzky obtained American citizenship after the wedding. Ty plays for Shattuck-Saint Mary's Midget AA hockey team, the same school that produced Sidney Crosby.



 


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