On today’s date in 1988, legendary NHLer Wayne Gretzky scored his 600th career goal while playing for the Los Angeles Kings.
In November 1988, United Press International published a story detailing Gretzky’s latest feat.
“Wayne Gretzky of the Los Angeles Kings, the NHL’s all-time assists leader, Wednesday night became the fifth player to total 600 career goals when he scored at 8:22 of the first period against the Detroit Red Wings.
“Only Gordie Howe (801 goals), Marcel Dionne (729), Phil Esposito (717) and Bobby Hull (610) have scored more goals than Gretzky, who is playing in his 10th NHL season. Gretzky reached the milestone with his 17th goal of the season, giving the Kings a 2-0 lead.
“Three weeks ago, Gretzky scored his 1,700th career point. He holds the league record for assists with 1,112 entering Wednesday’s game. Before acquired from Edmonton this off-season, he had led the Oilers to the Stanley Cup championship four of the last five years.”
YOUNG & FAST
Gretzky was both the youngest and fastest player to reach the 600-goal mark. He was 27 years and 302 days old when he scored his 600th goal during his 718th game—one game fewer than Mario Lemieux.
At this time, Gretzky had already established himself as one of hockey’s iconic players. It was eight minutes and 22 seconds into the second period when Gretzky—already the NHL’s all-time assists leader—became only the fifth player to total 600 regular season goals. It was his 17th goal of the 1988-89 season, and it was scored against the Detroit Red Wings’ Greg Stefan, who was Gretzky’s former teammate in minor hockey.
At the time of Gretzky’s retirement in 1999, he held 61 NHL records, most of which he still holds.
In 2011, the Royal Canadian Mint honoured Gretzky’s legacy with a series of collector coins.
The first was a $200 22-karat gold coin featuring a uniformed Gretzky blazing down the ice, sporting Canada’s maple leaf and his signature no. 99 jersey. His iconic number is laser engraved on the coin, where it’s positioned beneath a cameo of his proud father. Limited to a mintage of only 999 coins, the coin sold for $1,299.99.
The third coin was a 25-cent gold-plated coin featuring The Great One in the blue and orange colours of the team he led to four Stanley Cup victories in only five years – the Edmonton Oilers. The copper-plated steel coin, finished with a layer of gold, was packaged in a holder detailing Gretzky’s prolific career statistics.This same design was used for a $25 Fine silver coin, which displays Gretzky’s no. 99 with a colourful hologram. Limited to total mintage of 19,999 pieces, the coin sold for $99.99 CAD.
A portion of the sales was donated to the Wayne Gretzky Foundation, whose mission is to provide less-fortunate youth with the opportunity to experience the sport of hockey.