Wayne Gretzky had just played his last game ever. And when he saw a familiar face on the bench, he just couldn’t help but crying.
There’s barely an NHL record that Wayne Gretzky doesn’t hold. The Great One is undoubtedly the best player in history, and during a 20-year spell, he completely dominated the world’s best hockey league. But Wayne Gretzky wasn’t just a great player.
He was an awesome teammate. Everyone that played with him in either the Edmonton Oilers, the LA Kings, or the New York Rangers agrees that Gretzky was as humble as anyone in the locker room. It didn’t matter that Gretzky was a superstar on the ice.
Outside of the ice, he saw himself as equal to everyone else, and that’s why nobody has one negative to say about him. One of Gretzky’s closest friends in the league was a Swede named Ulf Samuelsson.
They weren’t exactly similar on the ice. Samuelsson was a tough defenseman who scored 57 goals in 1 080 NHL games.
But Gretzky, who played with Samuelsson in New York, respected the Swede.
”I haven’t seen many who wanted to win as much as Ulfie. He liked to compete, even on practices. That was my mentality as well. When you’re on the ice, you do the work. There’s no excuses,” Gretzky said.
Gretzky and Samuelsson shared many moments in New York.
”During our years in New York, we often had dinners together after the games with our wives. His wife, Janet, and my wife, Jeanette, got along great, and we had a lot of fun together,” Samuelsson said.
When Wayne Gretzky played his last game in the NHL in the spring of 1999, Samuelsson played with the Detroit Red Wings. But he managed to be in the Madison Square Garden for Gretzky’s big farewell, which meant a lot to The Great One.
”I was injured and the Red Wings gave me permission to go to New York to see Wayne play his last game. He didn’t know I was there until I got down to the bench after the game, and as he waved goodbye to the fans. Suddenly, he was me, and skated over and gave me a hug. We both cried. It was an emotional moment,” Samuelsson said.
Wayne Gretzky is the best ever to do it. What a player and what a person!