On today’s date in 1988, Wayne Gretzky scored his 600th career National Hockey League (NHL) goal while playing for the Los Angeles Kings.
Already the NHL’s all-time assists leader, he became the fifth player to score 600 career goals when he buried the puck in a game against the Detroit Red Wings, whose goaltender Greg Stefan was Gretzky’s former teammate in minor hockey.
“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,” reads a November 1988 story published by United Press International.
“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.”
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, who scored his 600th goal in 1997.
YOUNG & FAST
At the time of Gretzky’s retirement in 1999, he held 61 NHL records, most of which he still holds.
2011 GRETZKY COINS
In 2011, the Royal Canadian Mint honoured Gretzky’s legacy with a series of collector coins.
One of the coins was a $200 22-karat gold coin featuring a uniformed Gretzky skating down the ice and sporting Canada’s maple leaf on 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, Walter.
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.
A portion of the sales was donated to the Wayne Gretzky Foundation.