What discussion of the great game of ice hockey does not begin and end with Wayne Gretzky? You may or may not be a fan of the Great One, but you can no easier deny his dominance and the impact he had on the game than you can convince Rosie O’Donnell that subtle is better.
Growing up as a huge NBA enthusiast (my tenure as a fan began when I was about 8-10 years old with Julius Erving and ended with the retirement of Sir Charles Barkley), I was no Chicago Bulls fan, but once Michael Jordan entered the scene, you just knew you were seeing something special.
And like Gretzky (indeed perhaps the only viable similarity to Gretzky), whether you loved him or hated him, you certainly had to grant the man his place in sports history.
Over the years, many have been tempted to compare the likes of Wayne Gretzky’s dominance in the sport of ice hockey to Michael Jordan’s own personal statistical stranglehold on professional basketball. Still others are tempted to compare Tiger Wood’s dominance in professional golf to the statistical marvel of the Great One.
Any such comparisons are done in vain.
Yes, each of the aforementioned superstars dominated (or is dominating) their respective sport. But no one did it with the sheer inescapable magnitude of Wayne Gretzky over his twenty year career in professional ice hockey.
To put Gretzky’s feats in perspective, if Michael Jordan were to match the Great One’s single-season scoring record—statistically speaking—he would have had to average over 70 points per game.
Gretzky started playing Junior B hockey at 14 years old, winning a challenge to existing Canadian amateur hockey rules. That first season, he won rookie of the year, totaling 60 points in 28 games.
As many well know, over his career in the NHL, Gretzky had more assists (1,963) than second place on the all-time POINTS list (Mark Messier with 1,887).
His record of 2,857 points will never be surpassed.
All said, Wayne Gretzky holds:
40 regular season records
15 playoff records
6 All-Star records
He won 4 Stanley Cups (Oilers), garnered 9 MVP awards, and was the leading scorer in the NHL 10 different seasons.
Not only is he the only player to ever tally more than 200 points in a single season, he accomplished the feat four times. He scored over 100 points in a season 13 consecutive times, with a total of 15. He also turned 50 hat tricks.
Arguably there has never been a player with such a natural sense of puck flow, ice position, and the ability to create time and space. It was said the Great One had eyes in the back of his head.
In one game, he scored on the drop of the face-off puck twice, against the same goalie.
His greatest attribute, perhaps, was not exemplified by his grace with a stick and puck but rather his presence without them. No dominant force was ever so humble. Rick Reilly, senior writer for Sports Illustrated, once proclaimed the biggest challenge of interviewing Wayne Gretzky was getting him to say anything about himself.
Whether you loved him or hated him, to deny him his place in history is impossible. He was an ambassador for the sport, and reinforced the notion that hockey could be (and is) a game of grace, skill, and honor.
Robert Guthrie is a freelance writer who spends most of his spare time chauffeuring a 15 year-old ice hockey player who can’t yet drive himself. He lives in the beautiful mountains of Colorado with his wife, son, and two enigmatic blue healer mixes.
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Keep your Keeper Sharp
2-on-1 Shot Blocking
To keep things fresh and interesting during this drill, make sure the shooters employ a variety of shots including but not limited to slapshots, wrist flicks, and pushes. Another great way to keep the goalkeeper on their toes is to allow the players to pass the ball between them a few times before taking a shot, which forces the goalkeeper to pay attention to the action.
To set up, place six balls in a line slightly off center anywhere from 8 to 15 yards from the top of the circle. Have one player assume the role of the shooter, who stands at the line of balls. The aim of the goalkeeper during this particular drill is to move sideways across the goal to save as many shots as possible. At the start of the drill, the goalkeeper should be standing in their ready position with knees bent, head up and shoulder relaxed next to the left post.
To begin the drill, the goalkeeper shuttles sideways across the goal and taps the right post with their stick, the signal for the shooter to commence the drill. The shooter is to fire one of the balls towards the lower left hand corner of the net. As soon as the shot has been made, the goalkeeper is to shuttle sideways towards the left post and dive to make the save. Make sure to dive through the path of the ball in order to block the shot from going in.
Continue in this manner until all 6 balls have been shot, then allow your goalkeeper a short rest while the drill is set up again. The second time around the direction is reverse so the shooter will be taking shots at the lower right hand corner.
Make sure to emphasize that the goalkeeper keeps their head pointing towards the ball with their eye constantly following it after theyâ??ve touched the post and given the signal. To up their chances of successfully blocking the shot, encourage the goalkeeper to save using both gloves.
About The Author
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The National Hockey League is home to heroes and warriors aplenty. With each swerve and drive of the puck through the ice, sticks clash, players dash, and tempers fly. With each score, a player is hailed as a savior and hero. With each miss of the goalkeeper, groans and screams can be heard for miles. Such is the appeal of hockey, whether it is watched in its full glory live, or on television, where viewers can alternate between tearing their hair out and jumping out of their seats.
Hockey, whether played on the grass or on the ice, has legions of fans and viewers. These same fans and viewers are poised to cheer any player on, whether he is the neighborhood hero or Wayne Gretzky himself. They are likewise interested, sometimes even obsessed with finding NHL autographed memorabilia at low prices.
If you are interested in hockey, or if you are new to the game and are planning to collect NHL autographed memorabilia, start inquiring at your local collectorâ??s stores on what NHL autographed memorabilia are available, or what NHL autographed memorabilia you can afford. There are also many online sites where you can buy, auction, or trade NHL autographed memorabilia. Beware of such sites, however: like many other trading sites, there are lurkers and predators aplenty that can promise you wares without sending them to you, or promise to pay you for your NHL autographed memorabilia but do not do so.
Here are a few examples of NHL autographed memorabilia that you can avail of online. Although this list is by no means complete, it can give you a good idea of what most websites will offer. Prices will differ depending on the age of the NHL autographed memorabilia, who signed it, and the quality of the signed merchandise.
- NHL jerseys are the most commonly traded, sold, and bought items online. Signed and autographed by the players themselves, such jerseys become gems to collectors. If you are able to avail yourself of such a jersey, do not simply stash it away or keep it in a box. Frame it, not only to display the signature, but to preserve the autograph and jersey as well.
- NHL hats and caps are also attractive, as they can be used at games to proudly display the autograph of a fanâ??s favorite player. If you are able to buy autographed hats and caps, do not wear them too often unless you are in an air-conditioned stadium. Acidity and moisture can wear away cap quality and can damage the ink used to sign the autograph. Keep such hats and caps in a glass display box, along with some dehydrating salts, to protect them from humidity.
- Many other autographed NHL memorabilia can come in the forms of photographs, posters, and books. Take care of such memorabilia by either storing them in glass cases, or covering them with protective plastic. Keep any paper away from heat, acidity, and humidity, as these can easily destroy them. Photographs should also be kept away from direct sunlight, as these can cause photographs and the inks used to sign the autograph to fade.
- Hockey pucks and sticks are also available online, and, once signed by hockey players, can become so precious, their owners will refuse to use them to play any amateur game. Such autographed memorabilia should also be kept in glass cases, and should be free form moisture, since humidity can damage puck and stick materials.
- Made of stronger material, signed NHL helmets can withstand humidity, but the ink used to sign the helmet can melt away or fade. Store autographed NHL helmets in glass cases or cardboard boxes, and keep them away from acids or water.
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Did you just break your hockey stick and could not find the time to go to the store to buy a new one? Is this dilemma keeping you from training and practice time? Do you live too far from the next hockey shop? Then do not worry for there is a convenient way to purchase your hockey equipment on time. Through the convenience of the Internet, many hockey suppliers have now created their own websites where you can instantly browse for the equipment or gear you are looking for and purchase it right away.
Hockey supplies on the Internet
There are a great number of websites on the Internet that sell hockey supplies. Simply type what you are looking for and in just a few seconds, you will soon see a long list of suppliers willing to answer all your hockey needs. From secondhand hockey sticks to brand new skates, they all have them. Training equipment are available as well. You need to have a credit card to be able to purchase online, of course. Aside from the actual price, you will have to pay for shipping and handling as well.
If you do not need to buy anything but want to sell your hockey equipment and gear instead, then some of these sites can help you in advertising them to a larger audience. Some sites may charge you for advertising your products, but if you want to post them for a minimal fee, you can register and post them in auction sites.
The problem with these sites is that it is sometimes hard to trust the actually quality of the items without seeing them first. Sometimes there is no way of telling which ones are the legitimate sellers. Many people have been fooled by fraudulent sites that offer these products but never deliver your goods or even send you defective ones. Always be careful when buying hockey equipment online. Make sure that you purchasing them from reputable sites.
Hockey Equipment provides detailed information on Hockey Equipment, Ice Hockey Equipment, Ice Hockey Goalie Equipment, Field Hockey Equipment and more. Hockey Equipment is affiliated with Hockey Tickets.
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