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Oct. 5, 1996 (Rangers at Boston Bruins)
FINAL GAME WITH RANGERS
April 18, 1999 (Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins)
MAJOR NHL AWARDS/ACHIEVEMENTS WITH RANGERS
Hockey Hall of Fame — Inducted 1999
Lady Byng Trophy — 1998-99
NHL Second All-Star Team — 1996-97, 1997-98
NHL All-Star Game — 1997, 1998, 1999
RANGERS TEAM AWARDS
Rangers MVP — 1997-98
Boucher Trophy (Most Popular) — 1997-98
Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award — 1997-98
Rangers Good Guy Award — 1996-97
Most assists — 1996-97
RANGERS TEAM LEADER
Most points — 1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99
Most goals --1997-98 (tie)
Most assists — 1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99
Most playoff points — 1997
Most playoff goals — 1997
Most playoff assists — 1997
INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENTS WHILE IN RANGERS ORGANIZATION
1998 Olympics at Nagano, Japan
RANGERS ORGANIZATION STATISTICS
Minor-league games: 0
Minor-league teams: None
Nickname: The Great One
Full name: Wayne Douglas Gretzky
Uniform Numbers: 99
Retired from NHL: April 18, 1999
Universally recognized as the greatest player in NHL history, Wayne Gretzky finished his storied career with three memorable years on Broadway.
The only player to ever record 200 points in a season, "The Great One" was lured to New York by his former Edmonton teammate and close friend Mark Messier for the 1997-98 season. He recorded 72 assists that year — tying him for the third most in team history — and had the eighth-highest scoring season by a Ranger with 97 points.
Gretzky’s finest moment with the Blueshirts came during the team`s 1997 playoff run. In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against Florida, he recorded a natural hat trick in the second period to lead the Rangers to a 3-2 victory. He followed up that performance with another hat trick Game 2 of the Conference Finals against Philadelphia.
In 1997-98, Gretzky still put up spectacular numbers, recording 23 points and 67 assists for 90 points. However, his numbers slipped in an injury riddled 1998-99 season, as he posted only nine goals and 53 assists for 62 points. While these numbers would be more than solid for most players, they simply did not match up with the high standards Gretzky had set.
Gretzky retired on April 18, 1999. His final game was a 2-1 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and fittingly enough he scored his final point in his landmark career, assisting on New York`s lone goal by Brian Leetch. Gretzky was named as the game’s first, second, and third star.
Before Gretzky took the ice for his final game, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman retired the No. 99 forever and exempted Gretzky from the three-year wait list for eligibility into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Moments after then Penguin Jaromir Jagr scored the overtime goal that ended Gretzky`s career, The Great One skated around the Garden ice followed by teammates. He then took a lap by himself, before returning to the Rangers` locker room to hang up his skates forever.
After the 1998-99 season ended, Gretzky was awarded the Lady Byng Trophy as the NHL`s most gentlemanly player. It was the 32nd major postseason award of his remarkable career.
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