Wayne Gretzky (The Great One) Moments5 Great Wayne Gretzky MomentsWayne Gretzky is the greatest of all time and his trade from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings in August 1988 ushered in a new era of the National Hockey League.Gretzky’s move from the Great White North to La-La Land turned the strength of the NHL from Canada to the United States over the long term. The 1980s belonged to Canadian teams, especially The Great One’s Oilers, who won four Stanley Cups in five season, but things would change as the 1990s dawned.Gretzky has an incredible number of NHL records that may never be broken, and some of his most famous moments are the things of legends:
- Most Goals in a Season
On February 24, 1982, Gretzky blew Phil Esposito’s record of 76 single season goals out of the water. At just 21, Gretzky topped a record that many NHL experts thought would stand the test of time.But Gretzky wasn’t done. In February, as the NHL season still had over two months to go, The Great One completely shattered Esposito’s mark as he finished the season with a whopping 92 goals; a mark that still stands untouched.
- Most Points in a Single Season
The 1985-86 NHL season was a year of success and failure for Gretzky’s Oilers. The team was nearly unstoppable on the ice as it amassed 119 points and won the Presidents’ Trophy.However, the Oilers attempt at a Stanley Cup three peat ended in the playoffs by the Calgary Flames in seven games.Gretzky’s individual season was a success, despite the team’s playoff failures. The centre tallied 215 points as he led the Oilers to the top of the league during the regular season.
- The Trade
While The Trade didn’t necessarily go down on the ice and many wouldn’t consider it one of Gretzky’s greatest moments, looking back on it, the move defined the modern NHL.Without The Trade, ice hockey may not have became as popular as it has in the US. Hockey may have never expanded into the US, nor would it have received the television exposure it did.After the Gretzky trade, expansion sides popped up in Florida and in California. Later on, Texas, Arizona, Carolina, and Nashville would all gain teams.Gretzky also turned a generation of sun soaked Californians into ice hockey fanatics and players. Something the NHL is reaping the rewards of today.
- Saturday Morning Cartoon
Another great off ice moment for Gretzky came in 1991, when NBC launched ProStars. A Saturday morning cartoon starring the three most popular Canadian and American sports figures at the time – Gretzky, Bo Jackson, and Michael Jordan – which exposed millions of kids to a sport they had never watched before.In 1991, Saturday morning cartoons were a staple of the big networks and fewer households had satellite or cable television. Gretzky’s name and face on ProStars every Saturday morning was another reminder of The Great One’s appeal.ProStars only lasted one season, from September 1991 to December 1991, but remains a cult classic for a generation of sports fanatics.
- Edmonton Oilers Stanley Cup 1983-84
Gretzky’s arrival in the NHL coincided with the New York Islanders dynasty of the early 1980s. In the 1983 Stanley Cup Final, the Oilers were swept by the Islanders in four games, but a year later, Gretzky’s side would get sweet revenge.In 1984, the Oilers knocked off the Islanders, ending their dynasty and beginning one of their own. Taking the series four games to one, it was the Oilers and Gretzky’s first NHL Stanley Cup. The Great One would win four cups with the Oilers.