Wayne Gretzky holds a lot of NHL records. Like, a lot. He’s the greatest player of all time, and nobody has scored as many goals, assists, or points as The Great One. Gretzky just changed the way hockey is played, and he did it all with a smile on his face.
Gretzky loved hockey as a kid, and it didn’t take long until he started dominating. Playing in the Minor hockey leagues, he could score over 500 points in one season, and he did stuff on the ice that people had never seen before.
And he did it even in the NHL. Gretzky revolutionized the game, and when he started in the best league in the world, people couldn’t believe what he was doing behind the net.
People had never played behind the net in the NHL, but Gretzky had done it for years.
”I started playing behind the net when I was 14 years old, when nobody else did it. For me, it was my safe house,” Gretzky said on The Players Tribune.
”If anybody comes in one direction, I can go in the other direction. If two guys come at me, then obviously one or two guys are going to be open. It was easy for me as a player when I got in the NHL because nobody had ever seen a guy play from behind the net. My first coach as a kid was the guy who encouraged me to go do it, and then when I got into the NHL, Glen Sather, who was the coach, understood that that’s where my comfort zone was, and there was never an issue.”
Wayne Gretzky can’t say how he saw things on the ice or what made him so special. But his love for the game stood out.
”People try to always say, “Did you slow down the game? Did you see it from above?” I don’t know. I just had a joy of playing. I loved the game so much, and I worked on my craft and what made me the player that I became — and that was my hockey sense and my preparation and the love and passion for the game itself. I think that’s what propelled me to get to the level I got to.”