On today’s date in 1993, Los Angeles Kings captain Wayne Gretzky scored a hat trick for the eighth time in his playoff career, leading the Kings to a 5-4 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the NHL conference final.
During game one, Kings defenseman Marty McSorley delivered a serious open-ice hit on Toronto’s Doug Gilmour. Leafs captain Wendel Clark took exception, chasing McSorley for striking the Leafs’ star player. Toronto coach Pat Burns tried climbing the bench to confront Los Angeles coach Barry Melrose.
Eventually, Toronto took a 3–2 series lead heading into game six in Los Angeles. With the game tied at four in overtime, Gretzky high-sticked Gilmour in the face, cutting his chin open – an infraction that at the time resulted in a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct. However, Gretzky wasn’t penalized by referee Kerry Fraser and went on to score the winning goal moments later, tying the series at three games a piece.
In game seven, Gretzky would score a hat trick and add an assist to give the Kings another 5-4 win and its first Stanley Cup Finals berth in team history.
More than two decades later, and Leaf fans haven’t forgotten. What’s more, Gretzky later referred to this game as the greatest game he had ever played.
Unfortunately for the Kings, who would advance to the Stanley Cup Final, they eventually lost to the Montreal Canadiens in five games. It was the last time a Canadian team was won the Stanley Cup.
In 2011, the Royal Canadian Mint honoured Gretzky’s legacy with a series of NCLT 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.
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.
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.
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.