Yesterday marked the 24th anniversary since Wayne Gretzky played his final game ever in the NHL. Gretzky still owns close to 60 records in the NHL, especially for most goals (894), assists (1963), and points (2857).
Wayne Gretzky is the greatest hockey player of all time, and you can even argue that he’s the greatest athlete of all time. It’s tough to find someone who’s been as dominant in any sport as Gretzky was during his prime days in hockey, and his career was a fairytale from the first game to the last.
When Gretzky decided to say goodbye, the whole sports world was watching. Gretzky played with the New York Rangers, and to say that Madison Square Garden was packed would be an understatement. Gretzky, of course, recorded a point in the game—an assist in the Rangers’ 2-1 OT loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins—but nobody cared about the score after the game.
The standing ovation never ended as Gretzky took a few laps around the Garden ice.
Postgame, Gretzky met the media still in his uniform. What happened during and after the game is old news for every hockey fan. But on Tuesday, Gretzky shared an awesome story about what happened before the game and his heartwarming gesture toward his father Walter, who sadly passed in April 2021.
”This was a long time ago, but it really feels like I just retired a week ago,” Gretzky said on TNT.
”As I was going around the ice, it was just a full day of celebrations. The hockey stories that we were telling, the good times that we had over the years, it was just really quite emotional. As I look back on it, everything about those three or four days, and that final day … it wouldn’t be one thing that I would ever change.
”Like every kid, being in sports is your parents driving you to your games, and I said, for the last game, I’m going to drive my dad to the game. I thought it was a nice ending to it. And the whole way there, he just kept hitting me on the leg saying, ’You know, you could play one more year’ I said, ’Dad, I think I’m done.’”
Wayne Gretzky, a true hero!