Wayne Gretzky, nicknamed “The Great One”, is considered by many to be the greatest hockey player of all time. During his 20-year NHL career, Gretzky set numerous scoring records and led the Edmonton Oilers to four Stanley Cup championships.
Wayne Gretzky won 4 Stanley Cups during his NHL career.
Gretzky’s NHL Career
Gretzky began his NHL career with the Edmonton Oilers in 1979 at the age of 18. He quickly established himself as a star, scoring 51 goals and 86 assists for 137 points in his first season. In his second season, Gretzky broke Phil Esposito’s record for most points in a season with 164. He continued to put up staggering offensive numbers, leading the league in points for seven straight seasons from 1980-81 to 1986-87.
In the 1981-82 season, Gretzky and the Oilers reached the Stanley Cup Final but lost to the New York Islanders. However, they returned to win the Cup the following season, defeating the Islanders in four straight games. Gretzky led the playoffs in scoring and was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. It was the first of four Stanley Cups he would win with Edmonton.
First Stanley Cup Title – 1983-84
In 1983-84, Gretzky led the Oilers to their second straight Stanley Cup. He again led all scorers in the playoffs as Edmonton defeated the Islanders in a rematch of the previous year’s final. Gretzky finished with 35 points in 19 games and won his second consecutive Conn Smythe Trophy.
Second Stanley Cup Title – 1984-85
The following season, the Oilers and Islanders met yet again for the Cup. This time, Edmonton swept New York in four games. Gretzky was the playoff scoring leader for the third straight year and captured his third consecutive Conn Smythe Trophy. He scored 30 points in 18 games during the Oilers’ championship run.
Third Stanley Cup Title – 1986-87
In 1986-87, Gretzky and the Oilers took home their third Cup in four seasons. After finishing off the Philadelphia Flyers in seven games, Gretzky accepted the Cup from NHL President John Ziegler. Though he didn’t lead the playoffs in scoring, Gretzky recorded 34 points in 21 games and was named the most valuable player of the playoffs for the fourth time.
Fourth Stanley Cup Title – 1987-88
The following season, Gretzky won his fourth and final Stanley Cup with the Oilers. Edmonton swept the Boston Bruins for their second championship in three years. Gretzky again led all scorers in the playoffs with 31 points in 19 games and was awarded his fifth Conn Smythe Trophy. It was a fitting end to Gretzky’s tenure in Edmonton, as he would be traded to the Los Angeles Kings that offseason.
Gretzky’s Post-Oilers Career
Though he never captured another Cup after leaving Edmonton, Gretzky remained one of hockey’s most dangerous offensive threats. He led the Kings to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1992-93 where they lost to the Montreal Canadiens. After being traded to the St. Louis Blues in 1996, he took them to the conference finals, the furthest they would advance during his tenure. He finished his career with a brief stint on the New York Rangers from 1996-1999.
While Gretzky failed to win any more championships after the 1987-88 season, he cemented his legendary status by setting numerous scoring records that still stand today. When he retired in 1999 after 20 NHL seasons, Gretzky held 61 official league records. His career marks of 894 goals, 1,963 assists and 2,857 points seem nearly untouchable.
Gretzky’s Accomplishments and Legacy
In addition to his four Stanley Cups, Wayne Gretzky accumulated many awards and honors during his illustrious career:
- 10 Art Ross Trophies as regular season scoring champion
- 9 Hart Memorial Trophies as regular season MVP
- 5 Lester B. Pearson Awards as regular season MVP as voted by players
- 2 Conn Smythe Trophies as playoff MVP
- Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship and conduct
- 5 Lady Byng Trophies
Gretzky was immediately inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame after his retirement in 1999, the mandatory three-year waiting period waived. His #99 was also retired league-wide, making him the only player to receive this honor. Additionally, he helped grow the sport significantly as hockey began expanding to new markets like California and the southern U.S.
In international play, Gretzky was a major contributor for Team Canada:
- Canada Cup Championships in 1984, 1987 and 1991
- 1998 Winter Olympics (his last international competition)
Wayne Gretzky is hockey’s most legendary figure and holder of dozens of unbreakable records. His 4 Stanley Cups, 10 scoring titles and 20 straight NHL seasons of 100+ points are marks that no player may ever achieve again. “The Great One” inspired countless young hockey players and helped popularize the NHL in new regions. Gretzky’s transcendent accomplishments have cemented him on the Mount Rushmore of North American sports icons.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many total NHL seasons did Gretzky play?
Gretzky played 20 seasons total in the NHL across 4 teams – the Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers.
What was Gretzky’s highest single season point total?
In the 1981-82 season, Gretzky set a record for most points in a season with 215 (92 goals, 120 assists). This record still stands today.
How many career goals does Gretzky have?
Wayne Gretzky finished his NHL career with a record 894 regular season goals. He had 122 playoff goals for a total of 1,016 NHL goals.
Did Gretzky win any awards besides the Stanley Cup?
Yes, Gretzky won numerous individual awards, including 10 Art Ross Trophies, 9 Hart Trophies, 5 Lady Byng Trophies and 2 Conn Smythe Trophies. He was also inducted immediately into the Hockey Hall of Fame after retirement.
Was Gretzky successful in international play?
Gretzky represented Canada in various international tournaments, including the Canada Cup and the Winter Olympics. He helped Canada win multiple Canada Cup titles and a silver Olympic medal in 1998.
Wayne Gretzky won 4 Stanley Cup championships, all during his time with the Edmonton Oilers from 1979 to 1988. He led the Oilers to their first Cup in 1983-84 and their last one in 1987-88. In addition to his 4 titles, Gretzky set numerous scoring records and won many individual awards that may never be surpassed. His impact in growing hockey’s popularity and legacy as “The Great One” cemented his status as the greatest hockey player ever.