Wayne Douglas Gretzky CC is a retired professional ice hockey player and former head coach in the United States and Canada. From 1979 to 1999, he spent 20 seasons in the NHL with four different teams.
Named “the Great One” by numerous sportswriters, players, and even the NHL, he has been declared the greatest hockey player ever in a survey conducted by The Hockey News amongst hockey writers, ex-players, GMs, and coaches. Gretzky is the NHL’s all-time leading scorer, assist producer and point producer, and he has more career assists than any other player.
There have never been more than 200 points scored by a single NHL player, and he has accomplished this accomplishment four times. In addition, Gretzky scored at least 100 points in each of his first 16 seasons in the NHL, including 14 straight seasons. There were 40 regular-season NHL records (40), 15 playoffs (15), and six All-Star (Six) at the time of his retirement in 1999:
Wayne Gretzky Early Life and Career
Wayne Douglas Gretzky was born on January 26, 1961, in the city of Brantford, Ontario, Canada. He is the youngest of four brothers and a sister. Gretzky’s father, Walter, taught him, his siblings, and their friends how to play hockey on a handmade rink in the backyard of the family house, and Gretzky demonstrated natural ability from a young age.
Even as a child of six years old, he was already playing on a squad that was primarily comprised of 10-year-olds, and he continued to receive notice as time went on. He received a lot of negative attention from other players and jealous parents because of his outstanding performance on the ice. As a result, he was frequently booed by the crowd during games.
His parents assisted him in moving to Toronto to play hockey, in part to help him succeed in his career, but also in part to help him escape the unpleasant climate of his birthplace.
Player movement between divisions was prohibited at the time, but his parents filed a complaint with the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association and were successful, allowing him to play Junior B hockey with the Toronto Nationals, where he eventually earned the title of Metro Junior B Hockey League Rookie of the Year in 1975-76.
When he was 16, he was selected in the first round of the 1977 Ontario Major Junior Hockey League draught to play for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OMJHL.
Wayne Gretzky Professional Hockey Career
When Gretzky was just 17 years old, he signed a $1.75 million USD seven-year contract with the Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association (WHA) for his personal services (WHA). Due to the NHL’s policy on signing players under the age of 20, he was forced to join WHA instead. After a brief stint with the Racers, he was sent to the Edmonton Oilers. His team won four Stanley Cups after the WHA disbanded in 1979 when he led them to the NHL.
As the NHL’s most valuable player in only his first season with the Oilers, he won the Hart Memorial Trophy. As his fame grew, he became the first player in NHL history to score over 200 points in a season and break the 200-point plateau.
A total of three teams acquired him throughout the course of his career, including stints with the St. Louis Blues (1988-1996) and the Los Angeles Kings (1988-1996). (1996). The New York Rangers signed him to a two-year, $8 million dollar contract as a free agent in 1996.
The New York Rangers were where he ended his professional hockey career in 1999. Gretzky won nine Hart Trophies, ten Art Ross Trophies, five Lester B. Pearson trophies, and two Conn Smythe Trophies as postseason MVP throughout the course of his career. Following his retirement, he was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame. He retired from the NHL with 61 NHL records to his name. At the time of his retirement, he was also the only player to have his jersey number, #99, retired.
Wayne Gretzky Post Retirement Engagements
After his playing days were ended, Gretzky transitioned into administration and was named executive director of the 2002 Canadian Olympic Men’s Hockey Team. In May 2000, he and majority owner Steven Ellman purchased a 10% share in the Phoenix Coyotes, a National Hockey League team. During that time, he served as the team’s coach from October 2005 through September 2009. In 2016 he became vice-chairman and partner of Oilers Entertainment Group.
Wayne Gretzky Business Ventures and Endorsements
Apart from being a professional athlete, Gretzky has made significant investments in sports franchise ownership. He purchased the Hull Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for $175,000 CAD in 1985 and sold them for $550,000 CAD in 1992. Gretzky was a minority owner alongside John Candy when Bruce McNall purchased the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League in 1991; they finally sold the team in 1994.
He collaborated with McNall once again to purchase a rare Honus Wagner T206 cigarette card for $451,000 USD and later sold it. Additionally, Gretzky is a partner in First Team Sports, a maker of sports equipment, and Worldwide Roller Hockey, Inc., a roller hockey rink operator.
Additionally, Gretzky benefited from numerous lucrative endorsement deals throughout his professional hockey career. By 1995, he had risen to become one of the top five highest-paid athlete endorsers in North America, owing to his endorsement deals with worldwide brands such as Coca-Cola, Domino’s Pizza, Sharp Corporation, and Upper Deck Company.
Finally, in 2017, Gretzky collaborated with Andrew Peller Ltd. to open Wayne Gretzky Estates in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Additionally, he owns restaurants such as No. 99 Gretzky’s Wine & Whiskey, which opened in 2016 at Edmonton International Airport, and Studio 99 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Canada, which debuted in 2018.
Wayne Gretzky Net Worth
Wayne Gretzky is a Canadian-born entrepreneur and retired professional hockey player with a net worth of $250 million. He was widely regarded as one of the best hockey players of all time throughout his 20-year NHL career from 1979 to 1999.
He earned a total of $46 million in NHL salaries over that time. During his playing career, he earned an additional $50 million in sponsorships. When combined, he earned almost $150 million after inflation. He has prudently invested his money, amassing an empire that now encompasses sports club ownership, a vineyard, and real estate holdings.
Wayne Gretzky Private Life
Gretzky met actress Janet Jones on the television show “Dance Fever.” They began dating in 1987, and he proposed in January 1988. They married in July of that year. Their wedding ceremony, which cost him an estimated $1 million USD, was called “The Royal Wedding” by the Canadian press. The pair is parents to five children: three sons and two daughters. Paulina Gretzky, a singer, and model who is one of their daughters has been dating professional golfer Dustin Johnson since 2013. They share two children.
Wayne Gretzky Real Estate
Wayne purchased a big property in the prestigious Beverly Hills gated community of Beverly Park in the late 1980s, shortly after joining the LA Kings. He then sold his home to a billionaire called Eric Smidt (not the Google billionaire Eric Schmidt). Smidt paid $3 million for the vacant land next door and sold the combined estate for $40 million in 2014.
Wayne and his wife custom-built a mansion in Thousand Oaks, California, in 2007. The 6.5-acre property features a 13,000-square-foot home. The Gretzkys sold the mansion in 2014 for a mind-boggling $18.5 million to former baseball player Lenny Dykstra — who was then promoting himself as a financial guru.
A year later, the real estate market and Lenny’s guru status both collapsed. Lenny attempted to sell the mansion for $18.5 million during what may have been the worst housing market in history. He repeatedly reduced the price, ultimately losing it in foreclosure after declaring bankruptcy and being arrested on fraud charges. To complete the cycle, Wayne and Janet Gretzky repurchased the mansion for $13.5 million in 2018.
Wayne and Janet offered their desirable property for sale for $22.9 million in October 2020.