They Call Him the Great One

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Over the course of the 1944-1945 NHL season, Maurice "Rocket" Richard of the Montreal Canadiens made history, becoming the first player in NHL history to score 50 goals. Even more impressive, was that he scored his 50th in the 50th and final game of the season, which created the bench mark “50 goals in 50 games.” Richard’s record of 50 goals stood for 16 years before being broken by Bobby Hull, who managed to score 54. However, due to the NHL increasing the length of the season, Hull had 70 games to do what Richard did and thus did not complete the “50 goals in 50 games” achievement. Many hockey purists thought that no one would ever be able to match Richard’s stellar season, but 36 years later in 1981 the New York Islanders sharp shooting Mike Bossy duplicated the feat, scoring two goals in the final five minutes of the 50th game of the season to become the second player ever to score 50 goals in 50 games. He finished the season with 68 goals. Most hockey fans couldn’t believe Bossy’s achievement, and were sure the feat wouldn’t be matched for the longest time. And the fans couldn’t have been more wrong. In his first two seasons in the NHL, Wayne Gretzky won the Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded to the league’s most valuable player twice, and the Art Ross Trophy, awarded to the league’s leading goal scorer once. In his first season he became the youngest player to score 50 goals. In his second season he broke the NHL record for most points and assists in a season. But during the 1981-1982 season, just one year after Mike Bossy did the unthinkable, Gretzky took it to a whole other level, and set out on a path to transcend not only hockey, but sports and society as we know it. Gretzky didn’t need 50 games to score 50 goals. In... ... middle of paper ... ...nds Coliseum, and the freeway that leads to the Coliseum is aptly named Wayne Gretzky Drive. Likewise, he has another life-size statue of himself outside of the Staples Center in Los Angeles where he played for the Kings. Gretzky is a key figure in Canadian culture. He changed the way the entire world looks at hockey and was Canada’s hero even when he played for a United States based hockey team. He helped propel the sport to international heights it had never seen before, and has been part of so many iconic plays throughout the history of the sport, that other than the Miracle on Ice, he is a part of almost every historical event in the history of hockey. Gretzky transcends hockey, he transcends Canada, and even today is involved with hockey as he is an overseer of the Canadian National Team that just recently won a Gold Medal at the latest Olympics in Vancouver.

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