March 23, 1994: Wayne Gretzky's record-breaking no. 802 goal

Hockey legend, Wayne Gretzky, scored his 802nd goal during a Los Angeles Kings versus Vancouver Canucks game in 1994. Gretzky took a cross-ice pass from defenseman Marty McSorley on a give-and-go that left Vancouver goalie Kirk McLean out of position and left the net virtually empty at 14:47 in the second period. This goal made him the NHL’s leading all-time scorer; surpassing Gordie Howe’s previous record of 801 goals. Gretzky’s teammates rushed the ice to celebrate this feat. The Kings lost 6-3 to the Canucks that day but many Kings fans still view Gretzky’s record-breaking goal as a victory.

One of the greatest parts of 802 was I got to spend a lot of time with Gordie and his wife Colleen because Gordie was following me around,” Gretzky said in an interview from NHL fantasy camp. “A lot of times when you meet your idol, you’re somewhat taken aback or disappointed. For me, when I met Gordie, he was bigger and better than I thought.”

Howe, nicknamed Mr. Hockey, played 26 seasons with the NHL and is regarded as one of the greatest NHL players of all time. Howe still holds the record for most regular season games played (1,767) and most NHL All-Star appearances (23).

Gretzky finished his career with a total of 894 games (2,875 points) accumulated in the 1,487 games he played. Gretzky holds 61 league records: 40 regular season records, 15 playoff records, and six All-Star records. Gretzky joined the Los Angeles Kings in 1988 and led them to the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals. 

Nicknamed, The Great One, he is widely recognized as one of the greatest players in league history. The NHL retired his jersey #99 after he retired in 1999 and inducted him into the Hockey Hall of Fame without the traditional waiting period. Gretzky was honored as the torchbearer in the opening ceremony at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. There is a statue in his honor at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the current home of the Los Angeles Kings.

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