Wayne Douglas Gretzky was the impetus for change in hockey history. Much like the Montreal Canadiens of the 1950's had rule changes put in place because of their awesome abilities, the prowess of Wayne Gretzky was too much to overcome. Gretzky impacted the history of the game in many ways, both on and off of the ice. On the ice, Gretzky was too much to handle for defenders and goalies, and his numbers were reminiscent of the gaudy statistics one might compile while playing video games. Off the ice, Gretzky being traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings brought hockey into the sun belts of the U.S.A. He gave the NHL a face to trust, and the league profited from him at every turn. He sold seats wherever he went, which is exactly what the league needed in order to successfully franchise teams out from the traditional hockey hotbeds.
The scope of Wayne Gretzky's impact on hockey is wide ranging. Gretzky not only rewrote the record books with individual achievements that are mind boggling, he also hoisted the Stanley Cup on numerous occasions, and also changed the way the game is played. His style of offense was innovative, and he did it all with a unique flair, and with a fairly diminutive frame.
Gretzky altered hockey history by providing future generations with insight into one of the greatest offensive minds ever. Wayne would set up shop in his office, behind the opposition net and allowed the action to take place in front of his eyes. His vision was without compare, and he elevated the game of his teammates every night. He made all of the players around him better, and they were able to enjoy long and prosperous careers even after they no longer played with him.
Gretzky also changed the way that teams penalty kill. Earlier on in history, penalty killing defensive specialists were employed to kill off two minute increments. Gretzky and Jari Kurri were put out on the ice to add an offensive component to the penalty kill, pouncing on chances and scoring while shorthanded. Coaches started to realize that they could get away with having their smartest and most skilled players on the ice more often instead of relegating them to the bench in times of penalty trouble. This also forced the team with the power play to be very aware of the offensive danger lurking about.
His wide eyes surveyed the entire ice surface, often spotting a teammate surging forward and delivering a dazzling pass that eluded the defense and would land ever so briefly onto astick before it was deposited into the gaping cage. These were the eyes that were in the back of Wayne Gretzky's head. The eyes in the front of his head were far more brilliant.
Wayne Gretzky, of Brantford, Ontario, was dizzying opponents' with his offensive flair as a small child playing hockey against players four and five years older. Parents in the stands were astonished and embarrassed by Gretzky's uncanny knack for making opposing goalies look as if they weren't even there.
Wayne Gretzky broke into the National Hockey League in 1979 as a member of the Edmonton Oilers and immediately began his vicious assault on the record books, forcing umpteen edits of the yearly statistical magazines. Wayne tied for the league lead in points in his first season, and from that point on decided that he liked being on top of the scoring list, and perched himself there for years to come.
Gretzky obliterated the records for single seasons along his journey to smashing the career records as well. Gretzky scored an N.H.L. record 92 goals one season, easily surpassing the previous record. His 215 points in a season made a mockery of the former record. Gretzky demolished almost every record that he could have, and he did it with a smile and grace befitting royalty.
Wayne Gretzky always remained the consummate professional, gaining fans all around the world with his heroic play and breath-taking artistry on the ice. Setting up in his office behind the opposition's net, Gretzky would take a peripheral glance and deliver a perfect pass on to the awaiting stick of one of the lucky players assigned to his line.
His instincts were impeccable, and he always ended up being wherever the puck was. He never waded into territory where the puck already was; he moved on to its eventual destination and awaited its arrival. Wayne made the game look simple, and he enjoyed the successes of his team and his fellow players.
After retirement, Gretzky held a whopping sixty-one NHL records, an obscene number by any standards. Gretzky became the General Manager of Team Canada for the Olympics, and lead the team from off of the ice to the Gold Medal in 2002. Wayne Gretzky is a formidable ambassador for the game, and his likeness is recognized the world throughout.
After his first Stanley Cup victory, as a young kid, he paid out of his own pocket for the trainers of the team to have their Stanley Cup rings include diamonds instead of the glass that was presented to them. He did this unbeknownst to anybody except the owner of the team. Wayne Gretzky knew not to put himself above others, and respected the job that the trainers' had done.
Not only has Wayne Gretzky been inducted into the Hall of Fame, but also the league did not make him wait the mandatory resting time. They just inducted him after his retirement. The league also retired his number 99 jersey, never to be worn on the ice in the NHL ever again. When one looks into the annals of hockey lore, the name Wayne Gretzky will certainly stand out.