24 Years After Retirement, NHL Legend Wayne Gretzky Shares Heartfelt Snippet From Final Game in the Rink

Published 06/24/2023, 2:19 PM EDT

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Wayne Gretzky has donned the jerseys of a wide variety of teams, from the orange of the Edmonton Oilers to the blue of the New York Rangers. The Greatest of All Time (GOAT) of ice hockey and the National Hockey League (NHL) will live on in the legends of future generations. For Father’s Day, the NHL great has a gift for his legions of admirers that will bring back fond memories. Wayne Gretzky recently shared a message on social media in which he reflected on the emotional occasions surrounding his professional retirement from ice hockey.

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Every new crop of skaters looks up to the Canadian superstar, who made his mark in arenas all around the globe. Gretzky, who played in the NHL for 20 seasons, skated for the last time 24 years ago; it is one of the most iconic moments in the history of the sport.

A day that’s embedded in the annals of NHL history

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No ice hockey fan will ever forget where they were on April 18, 1999. Gretzky suited up for the Rangers that day and faced a battle against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Along with intense NHL play on the ice, the White Tornado’s boyhood hero Gordie Howe’s filmed words were included in the pre-game festivities. Gretzky also skated around Madison Square Garden after the Penguins’ Jaromir Jagr scored the game-winning goal at 1:22 of overtime. After a few more laps, the man who had been one of the most inspirational figures in NHL history took up his skates and left the rink, leaving behind just the fond memories of an ice hockey legend.

Gretzky explains his retirement feelings in an Instagram video, saying he “just retired a week ago.” His retirement, according to legend, was a “full day of celebration,” beginning with festivities and ending with the White Tornado leaving the ice rink. The footage also shows Gretzky’s wife, Janet Jones, crying in the audience when he retires, as she sees her husband permanently place ice hockey at the pinnacle of sports. Gretzky goes on to say that he felt quite “emotional” thinking back on all “the good times” he had with the other players on the ice.

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The legend goes on to tell of his father’s reaction to his last game, adding another layer to the overall emotional roller coaster.

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One who wanted to see more of Wayne Gretzky

There was a lot of love and respect between Wayne Gretzky and his late father, Walter. Gretzky emphasizes the role his parents played in helping him achieve his dream of being a legendary ice hockey player. The Great One also revealed that he and his father had a touching talk on the way to his last NHL game.

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Gretzky says his father, Walter, gave him a “nice ending” by repeatedly hitting him in the leg during their ride to his last game. When the Great One’s dad told him, “You know, you could play one more year,” Gretzky reportedly replied to him, “Dad, I think I’m done.” Even though the Great One’s father probably hoped for more success on the field, the White Tornado understood this was the kind of storyline he’d always hoped for.

WATCH THIS STORY – Wayne Gretzky’s Daughter Paulina Finds a Unique Way to Support Husband Dustin Johnson for the Masters Tournament

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Written by:

Rahul Goutam Hoom

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Rahul Hoom is a seasoned sportswriter with a diverse range of interests at EssentiallySports. He takes pride in his multidimensional personality that encompasses gaming, photography, and writing. While he cannot resist the urge to cover the latest exploits of Connor McDavid, Rahul's writing prowess extends beyond the NHL.
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Edited by:

Anupama Ghosh

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