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The Legacy of #99: Wayne Gretzky and the Unforgettable Impact on Hockey

Title: The Significance of #99 in Hockey: Unveiling the Legacy of Wayne GretzkyHockey fans around the world often associate the number 99 with greatness and unparalleled skill. This article delves into the captivating history behind the significance of #99 in hockey, focusing on the legendary Wayne Gretzky and other players who donned this iconic number.

With its unique charm and remarkable achievements, #99 has left an indelible mark on the sport. Let’s explore the fascinating legacy of #99 and its profound impact.

The Significance of #99 in Hockey

Famous Players Associated with #99

Wayne Gretzky:

– Wayne Gretzky, a Canadian-born ice hockey player, is the quintessential embodiment of excellence and supremacy in the sport. – Throughout his illustrious career, Gretzky earned numerous accolades, leaving an unmatched legacy.

– Regarded by many as the greatest hockey player of all time, Gretzky’s unparalleled contributions and achievements transformed the sport. Michael Jordan:

– Though primarily known for his basketball prowess, Michael Jordan also temporarily wore the iconic #99 jersey while playing minor league baseball.

– Despite his temporary stint in hockey, Michael Jordan’s comradery and shared legacy with Gretzky made him an intriguing figure associated with #99. Other Players Who Wore #99


– The famed use of #99 in hockey can be traced back to the late 1960s when a young player named Brian Gualazzi wore it during his youth hockey games.

– Gualazzi’s admiration for Gretzky led him to wear #99 during recreational play, inadvertently planting the seeds for its significance. History of the NHL:

– The NHL’s policy prohibits any player from wearing the number #99 as a mark of respect for Gretzky.

– This highlights the immense impact Gretzky had on the sport, leading to the league-wide recognition of his greatness. Wayne Gretzky and the History of Wearing #99

Gretzky’s Initial Number and Change to #99

Number 9:

– Early in his career, Gretzky wore the number 9 jersey, which was the same number his hockey idol Gordie Howe wore.

– However, when Gretzky joined the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, another player already possessed the #9 jersey, prompting him to choose a new number.

Brian Gualazzi and Muzz MacPherson:

– Inspired by a conversation with Brian Gualazzi, Gretzky made a life-changing decision and switched his jersey number to #99. – The change was a symbolic gesture, signifying Gretzky’s sincere homage to Gualazzi’s love for the number.

Retirements and Honors for Gretzky

Retirement from the Edmonton Oilers:

– In 1988, the Edmonton Oilers, Gretzky’s former team, retired the #99 jersey to signify his monumental impact on the franchise. – This grand gesture acknowledged Gretzky’s extraordinary achievements and immortalized his name in the history of hockey.

Retirement from the Los Angeles Kings:

– Following his trade to the Los Angeles Kings, Gretzky’s impact extended beyond Canada. In 1996, the Kings retired the #99 jersey, recognizing his contributions to the team’s success.

– The retirement ceremony emphasized Gretzky’s enormous influence on the growth and popularity of hockey in non-traditional markets in the United States. League-Wide Retirement Ceremony:

– In an unprecedented move, the NHL retired the #99 jersey league-wide in 2000 to honor Gretzky’s unrivaled accomplishments.

– This decision cemented Gretzky’s legacy as an icon and established a lasting tribute to his immeasurable contributions to the sport. Conclusion:

The legacy of #99 in hockey revolves around the extraordinary career of Wayne Gretzky, who redefined greatness in the sport.

The enduring impact of Gretzky’s dedication, talent, and remarkable achievements has forever solidified the significance of the number #99. From his humble beginnings to the league-wide recognition, Gretzky’s journey exemplifies the extraordinary power within sports to captivate fans, inspire generations, and leave an everlasting legacy.

Reasons for Retiring #99

Gretzky’s Unmatched Legacy

Wayne Gretzky, often referred to as the greatest player in the history of hockey, is synonymous with the number 99. His impact on the sport and unmatched records make retiring the number in his honor an unquestionable decision.

Greatest Player:

Gretzky’s exceptional skill and dominance on the ice solidify his claim to being the greatest player in hockey history. His vision, creativity, and ability to read the game set him apart from his peers.

With a relentless pursuit of excellence, Gretzky shattered numerous records and set benchmarks that are unlikely to be surpassed. Records:

Gretzky’s name is etched in the history books, with more than 60 NHL records to his credit.

Among these records, his most notable achievements include scoring the most goals (894), assists (1,963), and total points (2,857) in NHL history. These remarkable accomplishments exemplify the extraordinary impact Gretzky had on the game.

Scoring Records:

Beyond the mere numbers, Gretzky’s scoring records are awe-inspiring. During the 1985-1986 season, he scored an astonishing 92 goals, surpassing the previous record by a whopping 18 goals.

Additionally, he recorded 50 goals in just 39 games during the 1981-1982 season, achieving a feat believed to be impossible. Gretzky’s ability to consistently light up the scoreboard revolutionized the game of hockey.

Tradition and Respect

Comparing Oneself:

In sports, players often seek inspiration from their idols. When aspiring hockey players compare themselves to Gretzky, they realize early on that his accomplishments are nearly impossible to replicate.

Retiring the number 99 signifies the respect and recognition of Gretzky’s unparalleled achievements, emphasizing that he stands in a league of his own. Tradition:

Hockey is a sport that values tradition and history.

Retiring numbers serves as a way to honor and pay tribute to players who have left an indelible mark on the sport. By retiring the number 99, the NHL ensured that future generations of players and fans would forever associate it with Gretzky’s iconic legacy.

This tradition not only honors Gretzky but also reinforces the importance of acknowledging exceptional talent and contributions to the game. Respect:

The retirement of the number 99 symbolizes the utmost respect for Gretzky and what he brought to the sport.

It recognizes the enormity of his impact, not only on the ice but also on the growth and popularity of hockey globally. By retiring the number, the NHL showcases its deep admiration for Gretzky as a player, leader, and ambassador for the sport.

Other Players Who Wore #99

Montreal Canadiens’ Players

Joe Lamb, Desse Roche, and Leo Bourgeault:

While Wayne Gretzky is the foremost player associated with the number 99, he was not the first to wear it in the NHL. During the 1934-35 season, three players from the Montreal CanadiensJoe Lamb, Desse Roche, and Leo Bourgeaultwore the number 99.

However, their association with the number did not leave a lasting impact comparable to Gretzky’s. The significance of #99 truly emerged with Gretzky’s iconic career.

Rick Dudley and Wilf Paiement

Rick Dudley:

Rick Dudley, a former NHL player and head coach, donned the number 99 during his playing days. Dudley, known for his grit and determination, most notably played for the Winnipeg Jets.

While Dudley’s career was not as illustrious as Gretzky’s, his connection to the number 99 demonstrates that even players of lesser prominence have recognized its significance. Wilf Paiement:

Wilf Paiement, a fellow NHL player, also wore the number 99 for a brief period during his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

However, his tenure with the number 99 lacked the impact and lasting association that Gretzky and his remarkable achievements brought to it. Conclusion:

The retirement of Wayne Gretzky’s number 99 in the NHL holds great significance and is a testament to his extraordinary talent, unmatched records, and incomparable legacy.

His remarkable achievements in the sport have solidified his place as the greatest player in hockey history. The tradition of retiring numbers is a way to honor exceptional contributions, and Gretzky’s retirement exemplifies this tradition.

The number 99 has become an everlasting symbol of Gretzky’s greatness and serves as a constant reminder of his profound impact on the sport of hockey. Unofficially Retired Number #66

Mario Lemieux’s Career and Legacy

Mario Lemieux, often hailed as one of the greatest players in NHL history, is intimately connected with the number 66.

His extraordinary talent and contributions to the game have unofficially retired this number, perpetuating his enduring legacy. Mario Lemieux:

Lemieux’s career as a player is synonymous with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team he led to two consecutive Stanley Cup victories in 1991 and 1992.

His remarkable skill and effortless scoring ability electrified fans and left opponents in awe. Legacy:

Lemieux’s impact extends beyond his playing career, as he transitioned into the role of team owner.

His commitment to saving the Penguins from bankruptcy and ensuring their continued existence in Pittsburgh showcases his dedication to the sport and its fans.

Greatness of Gretzky and Lemieux

Points per Game:

When discussing the greatest players in hockey history, Gretzky and Lemieux are mentioned in the same breath. Both players possess remarkable scoring prowess, leading to awe-inspiring statistics.

Gretzky holds the record for the most points in NHL history, while Lemieux ranks second despite his battle with numerous health issues throughout his career. It is a testament to their extraordinary talent and dedication to the game.

Sidney Crosby:

Sidney Crosby, currently the captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, has often been compared to Gretzky and Lemieux. Crosby, the face of the NHL in the post-Gretzky and Lemieux era, has carried the torch of greatness.

He has embraced the challenge of living up to the legacies of these iconic players and has managed to carve out his own place in NHL history. Awe and Respect:

The greatness of Gretzky and Lemieux evokes awe and respect among their peers, fans, and hockey enthusiasts worldwide.

Their effortless skill and ability to dominate games set them apart from their contemporaries. Even today, players who have grown up admiring Gretzky and Lemieux speak about their influence on their own playing styles and approach to the game.


While not officially retired by the NHL, the number 66 has taken on a special significance due to the incredible career and legacy of Mario Lemieux. His impact on the Pittsburgh Penguins, both as a player and an owner, has solidified his place in hockey history.

Furthermore, the greatness of Gretzky and Lemieux continues to inspire and leave an indelible mark on the sport. As fans and players reflect on their extraordinary achievements, the number 66 stands as a symbol of the awe and respect they garnered throughout their careers.

In conclusion, the significance of #99 in hockey, as embodied by Wayne Gretzky, is a testament to his unparalleled talent and remarkable achievements. His records and impact on the sport have solidified his position as the greatest player in hockey history.

The retirement of the number 99 demonstrates the tradition, respect, and admiration the NHL holds for Gretzky, highlighting his incomparable legacy. Additionally, the unofficial retirement of #66, associated with Mario Lemieux, further emphasizes the impact of exceptional players on the sport.

The legacies of Gretzky and Lemieux continue to inspire and awe fans, leaving an everlasting imprint on the world of hockey.

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