Edmonton Oilers: Reliving Wayne Gretzky’s NHL Career

Mar 7, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings former player Luc Robitaille (second from left) poses with Wayne Gretzky (left) , Mario Lemieux (second from right) and Rob Blake at ceremony to unveil statue of Robitaille before the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 7, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings former player Luc Robitaille (second from left) poses with Wayne Gretzky (left) , Mario Lemieux (second from right) and Rob Blake at ceremony to unveil statue of Robitaille before the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Hello, fellow Edmonton Oilers fans. Today, it is Jan. 26, and I think that we all know what today is. It is Wayne Gretzky‘s birthday; he turns 55, and is still the greatest hockey player of all time. No one else is allowed to grace the number 99 on their jersey, and he still holds all of the records for goal scoring, assists and even NHL points.

To pay tribute to Gretzky, Oil on Whyte has created a list of the great glory days (and the not-so-great times) in Gretzky’s NHL career, in Edmonton and sadly abroad. These are just some of the memories (not all of them) that we could fit in this post.

Gretzky’s First NHL Goal

Where else to start other than at the beginning? Wayne Gretzky threw the puck on net in his third NHL game, scoring for the Oilers to get his first ever NHL goal. The celebration is one for the memory books, as it is the first of 894 other times that Gretzky lit the lamp.

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What’s even more amazing is that Connor McDavid‘s first NHL celebration is incredibly similar to Wayne’s, so much that even the NHL compared the two, 35 years apart.

However, this post is about Gretzky, and it is just so phenomenal to see him score that first goal against the Vancouver Canucks (don’t you see the hideous jerseys). In the end, Gretzky’s goal is one for the ages, and is just the start of the road.

Wayne Gretzky’s 50 in 39

The best days in the National Hockey League were the ones in the amazing 80’s, where Edmonton was atop of the league and no one had the arsenal that they had. Nothing is quite as glorious as remembering the days where Gretzky wore orange and blue silks.

But, let’s be honest, probably one of the best moments of his career was his “50 in 39” record.  Yes, the Great One was on pace to score 50 goals in 50 games.  He decided to cut that 11 games short, tallying five goals against the Philadelphia Flyers on December 30, 1981.

Gretzky’s record still holds today in the NHL.  He beat the 36-year-old record that Maurice “Rocket” Richard and Mike Bossy set 36 years prior.

The Wayne Gretzky Trade

The Gretzky Trade not only had ramifications on the Edmonton Oilers, but the entire NHL. This was one of those moments you remembered where you were: I can’t say that though. It took place a year before I was born. I remember as a kid always seeing Gretzky in that cool looking LA Kings jersey (which still stands as my favourite non Oilers jersey I own). I was blown away when I was told that THE greatest Hockey player played in Edmonton before hand.

There’s not much that needs to be said about Wayne Gretzky. He was the best there ever was. Some people may make arguments for other players, but there’s clearly a number one. The numbers he put up were astronomical. Yet the trade signified a change in fortunes.

On August 9th 1988 Wayne Gretzky, along with Mike Krushelynski and Marty McSorely, were traded to the Los Angeles Kings for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, 15 Million in cash and first round draft picks in 1989, 1991 and 1993.

This is a subject that I even wrote about in University. Read a few books about it. Researched it. The Oilers were facing dire financial need in the form of Peter Pocklington. He needed a quick fix for money and he got it by selling his biggest asset he had. To call this a “trade” is tough: it was a business transaction.

In the end, the Oilers would win another Stanley Cup, but the glory days would soon be over after that. Gretzky would change the games landscape in the United States and was the direct influence for expansion teams in places like San Jose, Anaheim, Tampa Bay, Florida and to some extent, Nashville and Atlanta (again). It was a painful move for Oilers fans and is an unforgettable moment.

Gretzky breaks the NHL point-scoring record

Wayne Gretzky broke the NHL’s point-scoring record, surpassing Gordie Howe when he picked up a loose puck in the crease. What’s even greater; he scored against his former team, the Edmonton Oilers. So take that, Pocklington!

This is one of the greatest moments. You can see the excitement in his face, as well as the excitement from all of his teammates and the crowd. He could do anything, and now, he was one of the supreme players in the National Hockey League. No one was greater, no one was better than Wayne Gretzky; and still today, no one can even cut it close.

Gretzky sets the goal scoring record

The video brings tears to your eyes. Tears. Wayne Gretzky was in prime scoring position on this power-play goal. On an amazing cross-ice pass, Gretzky slammed it home, and the celebration was priceless. He became the greatest NHL goal-scorer of All-Time, a record that he still holds today.

Here, he surpassed Gordie Howe and scored 802 career goals, but he ended his career with an impressive 894, something that will be incredibly difficult for any modern day NHL player to score. Of course, we wish he could’ve completed the feat in orange and blue, but here, it’s just amazing.

Wayne Gretzky’s Last Skate

This is the memory that makes me wrap myself up in a blanket, cry tears of immense sadness and pride and then easy an entire tub of ice cream. Watching Wayne Gretzky’s final minute, and hearing the entire crowd, no matter what team they were routing for, cheer him on, is breathtaking. He was and is simply the greatest hockey player of all-time, and a highly respectable man.

It was horribly sad to see that final buzzer go off, to see the tears in everyone’s eyes, even his, as he skated around for one last lap around the rink before leaving the NHL scene forever. It was in his last ever game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he picked up a point on the Rangers’ power-play.

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He is by far the classiest, most respected and greater player to ever grace the National Hockey League. Period, that’s it. We miss you, Wayne.