On today’s date in 1993, Los Angeles Kings captain Wayne Gretzky netted a hat-trick for the eighth time in his playoff career, leading his team to a 5-4 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the Campbell Conference Finals.
During game one, Kings defenseman Marty McSorley delivered a serious open-ice hit to Toronto’s Doug Gilmour. Leafs captain Wendel Clark took exception, chasing down McSorley for striking the Leafs’ star player, while Toronto coach Pat Burns tried climbing the bench to confront Los Angeles coach Barry Melrose. The stage was set for a long series filled with controversy.
Toronto eventually took a 3-2 series lead heading into game six in Los Angeles. With the game tied at four, Gretzky high-sticked Gilmour in the face, cutting his chin open and drawing blood—an infraction that at the time should have resulted in a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct. Gretzky, however, wasn’t penalized by referee Kerry Fraser and went on to score the winning goal moments later, tying the series at three games apiece.
In game seven, Gretzky scored a hat-trick and added an assist to give the Kings another 5-4 win and its first Stanley Cup Finals berth in franchise history.
Gretzky later referred to this game as the greatest game he had ever played; however, the Kings eventually lost to the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Finals.
It was the last time a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup.
2011 GRETZKY COINS
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 #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 pieces, this coin sold for $1,299.99.
The same design was used for a $25 Fine silver coin, which displays Gretzky’s #99 with a colourful hologram. Limited to total mintage of 19,999 pieces, this coin sold for $99.99.
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.
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.