Gretzky announces retirement

Archived from 1998-99 season.

Canada bids farewell to

NHL records

Commenting on Gretzky the Great

Wayne Gretzky, the greatest hockey player ever, announced his retirement after 20-year career full of accomplishments that will never be duplicated. An era has ended.

"The last couple of weeks, a lot of people have been asking me why this is the time," Gretzky said. "It's a gut feeling, something I believe is right."

His wife, agent, teammates, hockey fans anywhere and even the parliament of Canada urged him to stay. At the end no one could change his mind.

"I love this game," Gretzky said. "No matter what happens, I will always love this game. I'm going to miss it more than anybody."

Gretzky has or shares amazing 61 NHL records.In 1,486 games with teams in Edmonton, Los Angeles, St. Louis and New York, Gretzky has 894 goals and 1,962 assists for 2,856 points. He was named the league's most valuable player nine times and led the league in scoring 10 times.

Gretzky was traded in 1988 to Los Angeles by Edmonton Oilers' owner Peter Pocklington. Hockey rose in popularity in L.A. and eventually led to teams in hot-weather cities like Miami, Tampa, Anaheim, San Jose, Dallas, Phoenix and Nashville.

All through the years Gretzky was the perfect ambassador to the game of hockey. After being traded to St. Louis in 1996, Gretzky signed as a free agent with the New York Rangers remaining as the most recognizable super-star in the league. No one has done as much good to the game than Wayne Gretzky.

Gretzky's departure leaves a void that no one player is able to fill. The NHL is not the same without No. 99.

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