On today’s date in 1982, Edmonton Oilers star centre Wayne Gretzky scored his 200th career goal against the Vancouver Canucks.
It was the third game of the Oilers’ 1982-83 season, in which Gretzky would eventually net 71 goals and 125 assists for 196 total points. That night, he scored another goal plus an assist to lead his team to a 6-3 victory.
“Last year’s NHL scoring champion, who has scored three goals in his last two games, took a pass from left wing Jaroslav Pouzar and fired a 30-foot wrist shot past goalie Richard Brodeur at 12:09 of the second period to give the Oilers a 4-1 lead,” reads a United Press International news agency report dated Oct. 9, 1982. “The 21-year-old center got his second goal of the game at 19:32 of the final period, swatting home a five-footer during a scramble in front of the Vancouver net to close the scoring.”
Gretzky scored his 100th goal one season earlier, on March 7, 1981, against the Philadelphia Flyers.
After his 200th goal in October 1982, Gretzky would net his 300th tally in December 1983, his 400th in January 1985 and his 500th in November 1986. Before retiring in 1999, he would score 894 goals—the most by any National Hockey League (NHL) player. His 1,963 assists and 2,857 points also top the NHL’s all-time scoring list.
Gordie Howe, the NHL’s previous all-time scorer with 1,851 career points, amassed that total through 1,767 games; however, Gretzky only needed half that time – 780 games – to surpass it.
In the 1982-83 season, when Gretzky scored his 200th goal, the Oilers placed first in their division and conference. That season – Gretzky’s fourth – he also won his fourth Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player and his third Art Ross Trophy as the league’s top scorer. After a mostly successful playoff run, the team faced the three-time defending champion New York Islanders in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Oilers eventually lost in four straight games as the Islanders won the team’s fourth consecutive Stanley Cup; however, Edmonton would the next two Stanley Cups followed by another pair of consecutive championships in 1986-87 and 1987-88.
2011 GRETZKY COINS
In 2011, the Royal Canadian Mint honoured Gretzky’s legacy with a series of collector coins.
The first issue 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 number is laser engraved on the coin, where it’s positioned beneath a cameo of his proud father Walter. Limited to a mintage of 999, the coin sold for $1,299.99.
This same design was used for a $25 Fine silver coin, which displays Gretzky’s #99 with a colourful hologram. Limited to a mintage of 19,999, the coin sold for $99.99.
The third coin was a 25-cent gold-plated piece featuring Gretzky in the blue-and-orange Oilers colours—the team he led to four Stanley Cup victories in five years. 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 from these coins was donated to the Wayne Gretzky Foundation.