For hockey enthusiasts, there should be no need to celebrate the mastery of this superb hockey player. But, if we must produce a reason, we will mark the occasion of last Saturday, the 22nd anniversary of Wayne Gretzky becoming the all-time leading point scorer. On October 15th 1989, The Great One got an assist and then a goal to notch points 1,850 and 1,851 and surpass “Mr. Hockey” Gordie Howe’s point total.
Let’s remember Wayne Gretzky’s many achievements with ten of his memorable quotes:
- Skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.
- I had to play the same style all the way through. I couldn’t beat people with my strength. I don’t have a hard shot. I’m not the quickest skater in the league. My eyes and my mind had to do most of the work.
- You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.
- You’ll never catch me bragging about goals, but I’ll talk all you want about my assists.
- Hockey is the only sport in the world that actually encourages fighting. I have no idea why we let it go on. The game itself is so fast, so exciting, so much fun to watch, why do we have to turn ice red so often? Why do the best shots in a game have to be on somebody’s nose instead of somebody’s net?
- It really wasn’t practice, it was fun. I enjoyed myself. If I had considered it practice, I would not have done it. (on playing 6-8 hours a day as a kid)
- I don’t like my hockey sticks touching other sticks, and I don’t like them crossing one another; and I kind of have them hidden in the corner. I put baby powder on the ends. I think it’s essentially a matter of taking care of what take care of you.
- I’ve held women and babies and jewels and money, but nothing will ever feel as good as holding that Cup.
- The hardest thing about hockey is that the older you get, the more you love it.
- To play so well and for so long is simply incredible. No player will ever do the things in hockey that Gordie (Howe) did.
The last words on The Great One must go to Canadian radio personality Peter Gzowski, who poetically described Wayne Gretzky’s magic in his 2004 piece “The game of our lives.”:
“There is an unhurried grace to everything Gretzky does on the ice. Winding up for the slapshot, he will stop for an almost imperceptible moment at the top of his arc, like a golfer with a rhythmic swing. He has more room in the flow of time and Gretzky uses this room to insert an extra beat into his actions. In front of the net, eyeball to eyeball with the goaltender . . . he will . . . hold the puck one . . . extra instant, upsetting the anticipated rhythm of the game, extending the moment. . . He distorts time, and not only by slowing it down. Sometimes he will release the puck before he appears to be ready, threading the pass through a maze of players precisely to the blade of a teammate’s stick, or finding a chink in a goaltender’s armour and slipping the puck into it . . . before the goaltender is ready to react.”
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