5 Things you may not know about Wayne Gretzky
Wayne Gretzky is truly the GOAT of all GOATs, holding an unbelievable 61 official NHL records. His name is known not just amongst the hockey community but also to the entire world. What if I tell you there is still a lot you probably don't know about Wayne Gretzky? Here are 5 facts you might not know about Wayne Gretzky.
1. He was almost a partial owner of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that Wayne Gretzky was the face of hockey in the 1990’s and his dominant skill level was able to bring in new hockey fans from around the world. What most people don’t know is that he was so good, he had a clause in his contract that if the NHL expanded within 300 miles of Los Angeles, he would get a piece of the team. In 1993, when the NHL did expand to Anaheim, Gretzky decided to waive that clause in his contract because he believed there was nobody bigger than the game and it would be wrong to take a piece of the team.
2. He was signed to a 21-year contract in the WHA
Before the merger between the World Hockey Association (WHA) and the National Hockey League (NHL), Wayne Gretzky was dominating his rookie season with the Edmonton Oilers of the WHA. At the time, Gretzky was being touted as the next Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, or Maurice (Rocket) Richard, so Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington decided he would lock up Gretzky for his entire hockey career. On Gretzky’s 18th birthday, he was signed to a 21-year contract, with a renegotiation clause after ten years. At the time this was the longest contract in professional sports history.
3. The rights to his little brothers were in his contract negotiation
In the old days of hockey, contracts were very different. From no max contract term to partial team ownership in the case of expansions, contracts look nothing like they do today. One of the weirdest contract clauses in hockey history may just be one that never happened. In 1979, when Wayne Gretzky signed his 21-year contract in the WHA, Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington tried to include the rights to Wayne Gretzky’s three little brothers. Keith Gretzky, the oldest of the three brothers, was only 11 years old at this time. Keith was already looking like he could be another future hockey star, as he had scored almost 100 goals in his league at the time of the contract signing. Although the rights to Wayne’s three younger brothers never ended up being included in the contract, it will still go down as one of the strangest contract clauses in professional sports.
4. His brother is now a Sergeant in the OPP
Of the four Gretzky brothers, only two ever played games in the NHL, Wayne with 1487 and Brent with 13. After his short NHL career, Brent played hockey in a variety of different leagues, but eventually his hockey career did come to an end. Since then Brent has become a Sergeant with the Ontario Provincial Police and is enjoying a career in law enforcement.
5. Why he wore the number 99
Only one number in the history of the NHL has been retired league-wide and that is the number 99 for Wayne Gretzky. When Gretzky first made it pro, he never planned on wearing the number 99, he actually wanted to wear the number 9 in honor of his hockey hero Gordie Howe. Unfortunately for him, that number was already taken by his teammate Brian Gualazzi. After some back and forth Gretzky finally decided to wear the number 99 due to a suggestion from his coach Muzz MacPherson’s. If not for Brian Gualazzi wearing number 9 at the time, it might have been number 9 retired league-wide.