Ranger Gretzky

On July 21, 1996, “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky signed a two year deal with the New York Rangers as a free agent at the age of 35.

Ranger’s manager Neil Smith brought Gretzky to New York as part of a rebuilding process following two seasons of falling short of claiming Lord Stanley’s Cup. This was after beating the Vancouver Canucks to win the Cup in the 1993-94 season.

The 1994-95 season brought the Rangers to the playoffs where they beat the Quebec Nordiques in six games. The hockey gods were not smiling on the Rangers in round two as they fell to the Philadelphia Flyers in four games.

The 1995-96 season was not any better for the Rangers. Round one was a six game victory against the Montreal Canadiens, but fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in five games.

Gretzky was reunited with Edmonton Oilers teammate, Mark Messier. The duo won four Stanley Cups together in Edmonton and while they did get the Rangers back to the chase for the Cup, the team was not able to earn the crown in what would be the final playoff appearance for both hall of fame players.

Gretzky retired in 1999, after three seasons with the Rangers. Voters did not hesitate to have him included in the Hockey hall of Fame in 1999. He won all four of his Stanley Cup rings with the Oilers and after claiming every possible scoring record, the NHL retired his number, 99.

Gretzky lives in California where he has become involved in the restaurant and wine businesses.

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