Wayne Gretzky Turned Pro While Still in High School

Published on January 27th, 2024 3:52 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

Teen Gretzkys double life as a high-school student and a professional hockey player. Imagine Wayne Gretzky's life at the age of 17.

After deciding that he was done with junior hockey, Gretzky inked a 7-year, $1.75 million USD deal with the Indianapolis Racers of the WHA.

This was an enormous sum of money for a high schooler, as this works out to over a million dollars per year in today's dollars.

Despite making this large sum of money as a teenager, Wayne Gretzky still attended high school.

Gretzky wasn't being home-schooled, and he wasn't working with tutors, which is what a teen celebrity in this day and age would do.

No, Gretzky was just a "normal" high schooler, taking notes in biology class when he wasn't playing professional hockey.


Walter Gretzky, Wayne's Dad, made Wayne promise one thing when he signed the contract with the Indianapolis Racers:

You'll stay in high school until you are 18 years old.

Wayne agreed, and ended up keeping his promise.

Gretzky signed his deal with the Racers in June of 1978, and would turn 18 in January of 1979.

With the WHA season starting in September, Wayne would need to attend high school while playing hockey for roughly four months.


Gretzky would play eight games for the Racers before they folded. After that, Gretzky moved to Edmonton, where he would continue to attend high school while playing for the Oilers.

In his first season in the WHA, Gretzky would notch a total of 104 points in 80 games, solidifying his standing as the best young player in the game.


High school wasn't easy (naturally) for Gretzky, as he had road trips and games and practices and other commitments.

Some of Gretzky's teachers weren't happy to have to deal with this situation.

Gretzky's fellow students at Ross Sheppard High School couldn't believe that he was still attending high school while dominating in the WHA.

It was an uncomfortable situation for Gretzky, and he didn't enjoy high school at all.

In that situation, who would?


When Gretzky turned 18, his father gave him his blessing to leave high school to focus on hockey full-time.

Gretzky couldn't wait to leave and never returned.


Wayne Gretzky never finished high school, as he left halfway through Grade 12 and never returned.

Related Articles