Wayne Gretzky Net Worth & Biography [UPDATED]

By Mixxerly UPDATED: NOVEMBER 28, 2021

Find out how much money does Wayne Gretzky make monthly and yearly? How much is Wayne Gretzky's net worth?

Introduction

NET WORTH
$260M

Wayne Gretzky is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player and former head coach. He played 20 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for four teams from 1979 to 1999. As of , Wayne Gretzky's estimated net worth is at least $260M.

Nicknamed "the Great One", he has been called the greatest hockey player ever by many sportswriters, players, the NHL itself, and by The Hockey News, based on extensive surveys of hockey writers, ex-players, general managers and coaches. Gretzky is the leading goal scorer, assist producer and point scorer in NHL history, and has more assists in his career than any other player scored total points.

He is the only NHL player to total over 200 points in one season, a feat he accomplished four times. In addition, Gretzky tallied over 100 points in 16 professional seasons, 14 of them consecutive. At the time of his retirement in 1999, he held 61 NHL records: 40 regular season records, 15 playoff records, and 6 All-Star records.

Net Worth

Born and raised in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, Gretzky honed his skills at a backyard rink and regularly played minor hockey at a level far above his peers. Despite his unimpressive size and strength, Gretzky's intelligence, stamina, and reading of the game were unrivaled. As of , Wayne Gretzky's estimated net worth is at least $260M.

He was adept at dodging checks from opposing players, and consistently anticipated where the puck was going to be and executed the right move at the right time. Gretzky became known for setting up behind his opponent's net, an area that was nicknamed "Gretzky's office".

Favorite Quotes from Wayne Gretzky

“Look at guys like Larry Bird and George Brett and John McEnroe; that’s what they did in their careers. They all wanted to be the guy under the microscope late in the game or late in the match. So you just take on that know-how that that’s part of your responsibility, and you learn that’s what makes it exciting. That’s what makes it fun!” – Wayne Gretzky
“I think that from the time you start playing sports as a child you see that your responsibility to your team is to play the best that you can play as an individual… and yet, not take anything away from being part of a team.” – Wayne Gretzky
“There’s no perfect coach in the world. Coaches are human, too. Mistakes are made. But, fundamentally, if you’re sound, you eliminate as many mistakes as possible.” – Wayne Gretzky
“Listen, everything I have in my life is because of the NHL and because of hockey, and I love the game and I loved every minute of being a player, I loved coaching, I loved being involved in the NHL.” – Wayne Gretzky
“I knew at a young age, whether I was playing baseball or hockey or lacrosse, that my teammates were counting on me, whether it be to strike the last batter out in a baseball game or score a big goal in a hockey game.” – Wayne Gretzky

Early life

Wayne Douglas Gretzky was born on January 26, 1961, in Brantford, Ontario, the son of Phyllis Leone (Hockin) and Walter Gretzky. The couple had married in 1960, and lived in an apartment in Brantford, where Walter worked for Bell Telephone Canada. The family moved into a house on Varadi Avenue in Brantford seven months after Wayne was born, chosen partly because its yard was flat enough to make an ice rink in winter. Wayne was joined by a sister, Kim (born 1963), and brothers Keith, Glen and Brent. The family would regularly visit the farm of Wayne's grandparents, Tony and Mary, and watch Hockey Night in Canada together. By age two, Wayne was trying to score goals against Mary using a souvenir stick. The farm was where Wayne skated on ice for the first time, aged two years, 10 months.

Walter taught Wayne, Keith, Brent, Glen and their friends hockey on a rink he made in the back yard of the family home, nicknamed the "Wally Coliseum". Drills included skating around Javex bleach bottles and tin cans, and flipping pucks over scattered hockey sticks to be able to pick up the puck again in full flight. Additionally, Walter gave the advice to "skate where the puck's going, not where it's been". Wayne was a classic prodigy whose extraordinary skills made him the target of jealous parents.

The team Gretzky played on at age six was otherwise composed of 10-year-olds. His first coach, Dick Martin, remarked that he handled the puck better than the 10-year-olds. According to Martin, "Wayne was so good that you could have a boy of your own who was a tremendous hockey player, and he'd get overlooked because of what the Gretzky kid was doing." The sweaters for 10-year-olds were far too large for Gretzky, who coped by tucking the sweater into his pants on the right side. Gretzky continued doing this throughout his NHL career.

By age 10, Gretzky had scored an astonishing 378 goals and 139 assists in just one season with the Brantford Nadrofsky Steelers. His play attracted media attention beyond his hometown of Brantford, including a profile by John Iaboni in the Toronto Telegram in October 1971. In the 1974 Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament, Gretzky scored 26 points playing for Brantford. By age 13, he had scored over 1,000 goals. His play attracted considerable negative attention from other players' parents, including those of his teammates, and he was often booed. According to Walter, the "capper" was being booed on "Brantford Day" at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens in February 1975.

When Gretzky was 14, his family arranged for him to move to and play hockey in Toronto, partly to further his career, and partly to remove him from the uncomfortable pressure he faced in his hometown. The Gretzkys had to legally challenge the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association to win Wayne the right to play in a different area, which was disallowed at the time. The Gretzkys won, and Wayne played Junior B hockey with the Toronto Nationals, in a league that included 20-year-olds. He earned Rookie of the Year honours in the Metro Junior B Hockey League in 1975–76, with 60 points in 28 games. The following year, as a 15–16-year-old, he had 72 points in 32 games with the same team, renamed the Seneca Nationals.

Despite his offensive statistics – scoring 132 points in 60 games in Junior B – two teams bypassed him in the 1977 Ontario Major Junior Hockey League draft of 16-year-olds. The Oshawa Generals picked Tom McCarthy first, and the Niagara Falls Flyers picked Steve Peters second overall. With the third pick, the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds selected Gretzky, even though Walter Gretzky had told the team Wayne would not move to Sault Ste. Marie, a northern Ontario city that inflicts a heavy travelling schedule on its junior team. The Gretzkys made an arrangement with a local family they knew and Wayne played for the Greyhounds, at age 16. It was with the Greyhounds that Gretzky first wore the number 99 on his jersey. He originally wanted to wear number 9—for his hockey hero Gordie Howe—but it was already being worn by teammate Brian Gualazzi. At coach Muzz MacPherson's suggestion, Gretzky settled on 99.

Career

In 1978, the World Hockey Association (WHA) league was in competition with the established NHL. The NHL did not allow the signing of players under age 20, but the WHA had no rules regarding such signings. Several WHA teams courted Gretzky, notably the Indianapolis Racers and the Birmingham Bulls. Birmingham Bulls owner John F. Bassett wanted to confront the NHL by signing as many young and promising superstars as possible and saw Gretzky as the most promising young prospect. However, it was Racers owner Nelson Skalbania who, on June 12, 1978, signed 17-year-old Gretzky to a seven-year personal services contract worth US$1.75 million. Gretzky scored his first professional goal against Dave Dryden of the Edmonton Oilers in his fifth game, and his second goal four seconds later.

Gretzky played only eight games for Indianapolis. The Racers were losing $40,000 per game. Skalbania told Gretzky he would be moved, offering him a choice between the Edmonton Oilers and the Winnipeg Jets. On the advice of his agent, Gretzky picked the Oilers, but the move was not that simple. On November 2, Gretzky, goaltender Eddie Mio and forward Peter Driscoll were put on a private plane, not knowing where they would land and what team they would be joining. While in the air, Skalbania worked on the deal.

Skalbania offered to play a game of backgammon with Winnipeg owner Michael Gobuty, the stakes being if Gobuty won, he would get Gretzky and if he lost, he had to give Skalbania a share of the Jets. Gobuty turned down the proposal and the players landed in Edmonton. Mio paid the $4,000 bill for the flight with his credit card. Skalbania sold Gretzky, Mio and Driscoll to his former partner, and then-owner of the Edmonton Oilers, Peter Pocklington. Although the announced price was $850,000, Pocklington actually paid $700,000. The money was not enough to keep the Racers alive; they folded that December.

After the World Hockey Association folded in 1979, the Edmonton Oilers and three other teams joined the NHL. Under the merger agreement the Oilers, like the other surviving WHA teams, were to be allowed to protect two goaltenders and two skaters from being reclaimed by the established NHL teams in the 1979 NHL Expansion Draft. The Oilers kept Gretzky on their roster, making him a "priority selection".

In his first NHL season, 1979–80, Gretzky was awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL's Most Valuable Player (the first of eight in a row) and tied for the scoring lead with Marcel Dionne with 137 points. Although Gretzky played 79 games to Dionne's 80, Dionne was awarded the Art Ross Trophy because he had scored more goals (53 to 51).

In his second season, Gretzky won the Art Ross (the first of seven consecutive) with a then-record 164 points, breaking both Bobby Orr's record for assists in a season (102) and Phil Esposito's record for points in a season (152). He won his second straight Hart Trophy. In the first game of the 1981 Stanley Cup playoffs, against the Montreal Canadiens, Gretzky had five assists, a single game playoff record.

Gretzky was named an officer of the Order of Canada on June 25, 1984, for outstanding contribution to the sport of hockey. Since the Order ceremonies are always held during the hockey season, it took 13 years and 7 months—and two Governors General—before he could accept the honour. He was promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada in 2009 "for his continued contributions to the world of hockey, notably as one of the best players of all time, as well as for his social engagement as a philanthropist, volunteer and role model for countless young people".

Gretzky made his first international appearance as a member of the Canadian national junior team at the 1978 World Junior Championships in Montreal, Quebec. The Canadian coach, Punch McLean, was originally sceptical of Gretzky's ability as he was the youngest player to compete in the tournament at the age of 16. He went on to lead the tournament in scoring with 17 points to earn All-Star Team and Best Forward honours. His 17 points remain the most scored by a 16-year-old in the World Junior Championships. Canada finished with the bronze medal.

Gretzky debuted with the Team Canada's men's team at the 1981 Canada Cup. He led the tournament in scoring with 12 points en route to a second-place finish to the Soviet Union, losing 8–1 in the final. Seven months later, Gretzky joined Team Canada for the 1982 World Championships in Finland. He notched 14 points in 10 games, including a two-goal, two-assist effort in Canada's final game against Sweden to earn the bronze. Gretzky did not win his first international competition until the 1984 Canada Cup, when Canada defeated Sweden in a best-of-three finals. He led the tournament in scoring for the second consecutive time and was named to the All-Star Team.