Wayne Gretzky Posted 182 Points in 62 Games

Published on January 14th, 2023 2:54 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

The Great One - Wayne Gretzky 99. It's easy to forget that Wayne Gretzky, undoubtedly the greatest hockey player of all time, spent a full season in the OMJHL playing for the Soo Greyhounds.

Gretzky wouldn't follow the traditional route of playing junior hockey for 2-3 seasons before being drafted - instead, after his lone season with the Sault Saint Marie Greyhounds, Gretzky would sign a deal with the Indianapolis Racers to play in the WHA.


We talk about Mario Lemieux's unbelievable 282 point season with the Laval Voisins in 1983-84, but he did that as an 18 year-old.

In his first and only full season in the OMJHL, Wayne Gretzky put up 182 points as a 16 year-old. Compare this to Mario Lemieux, who put up 96 points as a 16 year-old.

The funny thing is that Wayne Gretzky wasn't even the first pick of the 1977 OMJHL draft - instead, Tom McCarthy and Steve Peters were picked ahead of him.

When the Soo Greyhounds announced that they were taking Gretzky with the #3 pick, there was considerable doubt as to whether Gretzky would report to the team. His family didn't want him living so far from home, and they were worried that all of the travel would be tough on him.

The Gretzkys found a family that agreed to take Wayne in, and "The Great One" would play 62 games for the Greyhounds before departing for the WHA.


Gretzky had a very slight build, so it was going to be interesting to see how he did in a league that had players that were up to three years older than him, and quite a bit bigger.

Gretzky quickly showed that he could dominate in the OMJHL as well, as he started his lone season with the Greyhounds on a 23 game point streak that saw him notch a total of 75 points.

The league noticed Gretzky's unbelievable talents, and arenas across the OMJHL would fill so that people could watch the future "Great One".

While Gretzky would dominate, the Greyhounds struggled over the course of the season, as opposing teams would manhandle them. In fact, the Greyhounds had to endure a 12-game losing streak during the season, despite the fact that Gretzky was one of the league's most prolific scorers.


Gretzky's time with the Greyhounds would see him start to wear his famous #99 number as well.

Gretzky wanted to wear the #9, as Gordie Howe was his favourite player, but teammate Brian Gualazzi was already wearing it.

It was suggested that Gretzky simply double the 9 on his jersey, similar to what Phil Esposito did with his #7 when he joined the New York Rangers and that number was taken. This is what Gretzky did, and the famous #99 was born.


Gretzky would only play one full season with the Soo Greyhounds, as the Indianapolis Racers of the WHA (World Hockey Association) would offer Gretzky a multi-million dollar contract to join their team.

This was far too much money for a 17 year-old to turn down in the 1970s, so Gretzky joined the team.

Just a handful of games into the 1978-79 season, team owner Nelson Skalbania sold Gretzky's contract to the Edmonton Oilers (as the team was struggling financially), and the rest is history.

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