Wayne Douglas Gretzky,(born January 26, 1961) was born and raised in Brantford, Ontario. Gretzky honed his skills at a backyard rink and regularly played minor hockey at a level far above his peers. Despite his unimpressive stature, strength, and speed, Gretzky's intelligence and reading of the game were unrivaled. He was adept at dodging checks from opposing players, and he could consistently anticipate where the puck was going to be and execute the right move at the right time. Gretzky also became known for setting up behind the net, an area that was nicknamed "Gretzky's office" because of his skills there.
In his career, Gretzky captured nine Hart Trophies as the most valuable player, ten Art Ross Trophies for most points in a season, five Lady Byng Trophies for sportsmanship and performance, five Lester B. Pearson Awards, and two Conn Smythe Trophies as playoff MVP.
After his retirement in 1999, he was immediately inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and is the most recent player to have the waiting period waived. He became Executive Director for the Canadian national men's hockey team during the 2002 Winter Olympics, where the team won a gold medal. In 2000 he became part owner of the Phoenix Coyotes, and following the 2004–05 NHL lockout he became their head coach.
Nicknamed "The Great One", Gretzky was called "the greatest player of all time" in Total Hockey: The Official Encyclopedia of the NHL He is generally regarded as the best player in the history of the NHL, and has been called "the greatest hockey player ever" by many sportswriters, players, and coaches. Upon his retirement on April 18, 1999, he held forty regular-season records, fifteen playoff records, and six All-Star records. He is the only NHL player to total over 200 points in one season—a feat he accomplished four times. In addition, he tallied over 100 points in 15 NHL seasons, 13 of them consecutive. Gretzky's jersey number, 99, has been retired by all teams in the National Hockey League.