“The Great One” lived, ate and breathed hockey from a very young age, and that passion lasted deep into his adult life. For the record, that very young age could be pinned at two years old, when he first skated on ice behind his parents’ home in Ontario, Canada. Gretzky learned a lot about the game of hockey from his father as a little kid, although it’s pretty clear that he still managed to surpass his dad’s strong enthusiasm for the game by staying out on the ice basically whenever he wasn’t at school or asleep.
Gretzky was always a prodigy, owning 10-year-old players as a 6-year-old and scoring a ludicrous 378 goals in one season when he turned 10. The doubts about how his pro career might end up lied in the fact that he was just never that big (6 ft, 160 lbs at age 18) or even praised for being that fast. The fact was, however, that Gretzky just had an unmatched dedication to the game, and his well-honed instincts and skills allowed him to avoid getting hit with checks from far bigger opposing players and focus on putting the puck in the net through a strong shot or a well-timed pass to a teammate. Gretzky was able to lead the Edmonton Oilers to four championships while he personally won a record nine MVP Awards on the way to setting records for career goals scored and assists, among dozens of others.