On today’s date in 1989, Los Angeles Kings forward Wayne Gretzky netted two goals and an assist, passing Gordie Howe as the NHL’s all-time leading scorer with 1,851 career points.
Howe’s record was amassed throughout the 1,767 games of his career.
Gretzky, however, only needed half this time – 780 games – to surpass that mark.
In 2011, the Royal Canadian Mint honoured Gretzky’s legacy with a series of 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 #99 jersey. His iconic number is laser-engraved on the coin, where it’s positioned beneath a cameo of his proud father. There was a mintage of 999 coins.
This same design was used for a $25 Fine silver coin, which displays Gretzky’s #99 with a colourful hologram. For this coin, there was a mintage of 19,999 pieces.
The third coin – a 25-cent gold-plated piece – featured Gretzky 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 The Great One’s prolific career.
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.
In total, Gretzky holds 40 regular season, 15 playoff and six all-star records; these include most career regular-season goals (894), assists (1,963), points (2,857) and hat tricks (50) plus the most playoff goals (122), assists (260) and points (382).