The Great One, Wayne Gretzky, was by far one of the most talented influential players in NHL history. He was so beloved and revered by his fans and fellow players that when he retired from the league his number went with him. No player in the NHL after Gretzky’s signature number 99.
He’s played for a hand full of teams over the years and now that his skating days are over he’s running the Phoenix Coyotes out in Arizona. This article is a look into one of the greatest NHL careers in history from the perspective of the sweater. Here are all the hockey jerseys Wayne Gretzky wore throughout his time in the NHL.
Indianapolis Racers (WHA) 1978
The World Hockey Association was the first league to grab hold of the potential in Gretzky. He was drafted by the Indianapolis Racers in 1978 at the ripe old age of 17. He was signed to a seven-year personal services contract worth over $1.75 million U.S.D. Not bad for a budding teenager’s first job, eh? Sadly, the Racers were quickly going broke and had to trade Gretzky. He played only eight games with them before moving on to the Edmonton Oilers which at the time were another WHA team.
Edmonton Oilers (WHA and NHL) 1979 – 1988
The Oilers originally were founded as a WHA team but when that league collapsed they moved over to the NHL and brought Canada’s golden boy along with them. In Edmonton Gretzky quickly became a hit. In his initial season with the Oilers Gretzky managed to take home the Hart Memorial Trophy for Most Valuable Player. Then, for seven more seasons in a row, he continued to bring it home. Edmonton loved Gretzky, he was home there, and that’s why controversy erupted when in 1988 (just two hours after they won the Stanley Cup) the team decided to trade him to Los Angeles of all places.
Los Angeles Kings (NHL) 1988 – 1996
The L.A. Kings acquired Gretzky in 1988 and went on to have a rather lucrative season. The team never managed to win the Stanley Cup itself but having Gretzky on the ice earned the new franchise some needed respect. Attendance shot up and general fan interest in the city rose as in Gretzky’s first season his new team went against the Oilers in the playoffs and won.
St. Louis Blues (NHL) 1996
Gretzky had a brief stint with the St. Louis Blues in 1996 for some reason. He joined the team in a trade for a few players and some draft picks. Rumors were that he was unhappy living in Los Angeles and the Kings weren’t quite doing it for him anymore. However, even though Gretzky was playing with fellow superstar Brett Hull, the team didn’t go anywhere fast enough and he left them for the New York Rangers.
New York Rangers (NHL) 1996 – 1999
The Rangers mark a reunion with Gretzky’s long time friend and Oiler Mark Messier. Together they pushed the team into the Eastern Conference Finals in 1997 but after struggling for a while and losing Mark Messier to the Canucks in 1998, Gretzky decided to retire. His final game was played against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Madison Square Garden April 18, 1999.
Canadian Men’s Olympic Team 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics
Gretzky played with multiple Canadian world and Olympic teams over the years but it was his coaching abilities in 2002 and 2006 that brought the Canadian Men’s Olympic team to two consecutive gold medals. Maybe it was just the Looney at center ice, but probably not.
Phoenix Coyotes (NHL) 2000 – Present Day
Today Gretzky coaches the floundering Phoenix Coyotes in Arizona. He started out as just a part owner when the franchise first began but eventually took the coach’s whistle to try and get the team on the right track. It hasn’t quite worked out just yet.