Written by Staff Writer by Lauren Feiner, CNN New York
Canadian hockey legend Wayne Gretzky was born on December 10, 1952 in Montreal, Canada. At the ripe old age of 13, Gretzky made his NHL debut with the Montreal Canadiens, playing 80 regular season games.
While Gretzky had “big eyes” from playing hockey, growing up in Montreal was a struggle. With snowy temperatures making it hard to play winter sports, only getting to skate indoors helped build his ballsy bone structure.
Now 71, Gretzky will retire at the end of the season — the end of what’s been an amazing ice career. Here are eight facts about the hockey legend.
1. Wayne Gretzky Age: 71 Years of living: 61,955 days
As a teenager, Gretzky recorded this hit with the St. Louis Blues organization
2. Hockey tribute: Hamilton Legion Post 8384, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
3. Melding genes: Gretzky was the son of renowned athlete Jack Gretzky , famous for being the tallest athlete to ever play for the US National Hockey League (NHL) in 1924
Credit: Charles Sykes/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
4. Baseball star: Gretzky was among the first National League (NL) players to wear a cleat with steel toes back in 1965
In 1967, he became the second fastest player to record 3,000 points in the NHL, doing so in 1,132 games
6. Former NBA player: The Detroit native had quite a career after playing ice hockey for several NHL teams. In 1979, he was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA. He went on to play on 4 different teams, finishing his career in 1984.
The Lakers’ Mike Bresnahan holds his son, Wayne Gretzky Jr. (2nd left), as he poses for a picture with a number 81 jersey. Credit: Courtesy Al Buckner/NBAE via Getty Images
7. Retired: NHL legend Gretzky earned his permanent retirement in 2005. He played his last game with the Edmonton Oilers. His last hockey game was on Mar. 17, 2004 against the Boston Bruins.
8. The Great One: Gretzky took his first vacation after winning the Stanley Cup in 1989. He went to Hawaii, where he was spotted in the now-shuttered Paradise Island property.