Guest Post: When 99 turns 50
Happy Birthday, Wayne
BY FRANK McKENNA
It took Wayne Gretzky, the 17-year old centre for the Indianapolis Racers, five games to score his first professional goal, interestingly enough against the Edmonton Oilers. Four seconds later, he potted another.
The Great One scored with millions of people around the world. Not just hockey fans, but everyone who enjoys the thrill of incredible performances. He reached legendary status. And in doing so became one of Canada’s most famous ambassadors. And what a great ambassador he was – and remains.
Wayne is a well-grounded, decent human being. In all his success, he has stayed true to the values he was taught as a young kid: hard work, loyalty and dedication.
I don’t think he has ever lost the anticipation of lacing up his skates for the first time on his grandparent’s farm, nor the excitement of those first few strides. He still finds pure joy in the game.
The magic is in the moments Wayne created. Every time he touched the puck, circled the play, set-up shop behind the opponent's net. We never tired of his show. Though, it must be said, Leaf fans would like to forget about one particular goal in 1993, which robbed the nation of a Montreal-Toronto Stanley Cup Final!
Wayne turned 50 today. For me, and countless others, he will always be a magical 99.
Happy birthday, Wayne!
Your friend and fan,
This is his first piece for A Leafs Fan Blogs.
MAIN PHOTO: LARRY MACDOUGAL/CANADIAN PRESS