The Day Gretzky Truly Earned The "Great One" Status

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THE AGEING VETERAN PERSPECTIVE

Wayne Gretzky is known to all as The Great One.  His play on the ice is unrivalled. He has more assists than any other player has points, and his ability to read a play and anticipate what will happen is beyond any other.  

Yesterday marked the anniversary for when he truly set himself apart and earned the title of The Great One.  October 15, 1989, playing for the LA Kings Wayne Gretzky moved past Gordie Howe’s record of 1850 points.  The game was against the Edmonton Oilers, very fitting that Gretzky would become number 1 against the team he had played 9 seasons with.  He assisted the games first goal to tie Howe’s record, then in the third period he scored the tying goal to move himself into the top spot.  In overtime he scored again to win the game 5-4 for the Kings and move 2 points ahead of Howe.

The game was in Edmonton, but when Gretzky scored the goal to move past Howe, Oilers fans, who were quite used to seeing The Great One work his magic, erupted in an ovation for the now visiting player that lasted for 2 minutes. Truly a sign of his greatness and admiration in the hockey world. 

After the game Gretzky was front and center in a media scrum.  When asked about setting the record and moving past Gordie Howe, The Great One told the media “Gordie is still the greatest in my mind, and the greatest in everyone’s mind”.  This is a sentiment that he holds to even today.  Anytime he is asked whether he is the greatest of all time he repeats that it is Gordie Howe, aka Mr Hockey.  High praise from The Great One.  Howe was on record after the game letting reporters know how he felt about his record being beaten saying “if it was pardon the expression, some clown it would have bothered me, but not Wayne”.

Upon retirement in the 1998-99 season, Gretzky shared or held 61 records in the NHL.  He had 894 goals and 1963 assists giving him 2857 points in 1487 games played.   He sits atop the scoring standings by a large amount.  He truly is the greatest player to ever play the game.

1-Wayne Gretzky-2857 points

2-Jaromir Jagr-1921 points

3-Mark Messier-1887 points

4-Gordie Howe-1850 points

5-Ron Francis-1798 points