wayne.png

General Mills, Wikimedia Commons

Year on Wheaties Box: 2003

Gretzky’s impressive list of international appearances began at the 1978 World Junior Championships in Montreal, Quebec. At the age of 16, he was both the youngest player to compete and the lead scorer in the tournament. He went on to play with Canada’s men’s team as a lead scorer, helping the team place third at the 1982 World Championships. He was also the top scoring player at numerous Canada Cups (renamed the World Cup in 1996), where he led his team to victory in 1984, 1987 and 1991.

Wayne Gretzky was 37 years old before he was allowed to play in the Olympics. NHL players only became eligible for the event in the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan. Although Gretzky made the team, he was not elected captain and was controversially not selected by coach Marc Crawford as one of the five shooters in the semi-final game against the Czech Republic. The Canadian team lost and went on to lose in the bronze-medal match against Finland. The Olympics were Gretzky’s final international appearance as a player. In the 2002 Olympics, he was chosen as the executive director for the Canadian national men’s hockey team. The team won gold that year.

Wayne Gretzky holds or shares 61 NHL records: 40 for the regular season, 15 for the Stanley Cup playoffs and six for the NHL All-Star Game. These include most goals and most assists.