This jersey belongs to Scott Josey of Brantford, Ontario.
#99 Wayne Gretzky Edmonton Oilers Home Jersey.
“Wayne Gretzky’s route to the NHL was uncommon to say the least. When Gretzky was 17 years-old the NHL did not allow players to be signed to contracts under the age of 20, but the World Hockey Association had no such rule. The Indianapolis Racers signed Gretzky to a seven-year personal services contract, but would only play eight games with the Racers. The financially strapped Racers traded Gretzky along with two teammates to the Edmonton Oilers of the WHA for $850,000.
On Gretzky’s 18th birthday, he signed a 10-year personal services contract with the Oilers. This would be Gretzky’s only season in the WHA as the league would fold following his first season. The Oilers along with three other WHA teams joined the NHL in 1979. Normally the NHL would have removed Gretzky from the Oilers roster and place him into the 1979 NHL Entry Draft, but Gretzky’s personal services contract would prevent this.
Entering the NHL in 1979 with the Oilers, Gretzky quickly proved doubters wrong that thought his skills would be less effective in the bigger and more talented league. Gretzky scored 51 goals and 137 points in 79 games. He was awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy for most valuable player to their team and tied for league scoring with Marcel Dionne. The Art Ross Trophy was awarded to Dionne due to having 53 goals versus Gretzky’s 51. Gretzky most certainly would have won the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year, but his season in the WHA rendered him ineligible.
The Brantford, Ontario native would crush any doubts of superstar status by winning his first of seven consecutive Art Ross Trophies for league’s top scorer with 164 points and his second straight Hart Trophy. This broke the previous scoring record of Phil Esposito’s record of 152 points in a season and also Bobby Orr’s record of assists in a season (102) with 109 in 80 games.
In his third season with the Oilers, Gretzky smashed another long standing record. Gretzky would reach the 50 goals mark in just 39 games, topping a 35-year record of 50 goals in 50 games shared by Maurice “Rocket” Richard and Mike Bossy. Gretzky went onto scoring an unbelievable 92 goals and 212 points. This surpassed Esposito’s record of 76 goals in a season and to become the first and only player in NHL history to reach the 200 points mark in a season, which Gretzky managed to do four times in his career.
By the end of Gretzky’s time in Edmonton, he held or shared 49 NHL records. In his nine seasons with the Oilers, Gretzky would lead the team to his only four Stanley Cup Championships of his career. Two of the Stanley Cup Championships, Gretzky was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff’s most valuable player. In 696 regular season games with the Oilers, Gretzky had 583 goals and 1,669 points. Gretzky held the Oilers’ captaincy from 1983-88.
August 9th, 1988 will always be a day that Oilers’ fans remember as the worst day in franchise history. This was the day that the greatest player of all-time was traded. The trade will always be known as “the trade” in the hockey world and will go down as the darkest day in Oilers’ history.”
Tune in tomorrow for the next step of Gretzky’s career.
Thanks to Scott for sending in his Gretzky collection!
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