Sports Hockey

Wayne Gretzky named on 'Most Athletic Americans' list

By Jenny Yuen, Toronto Sun

Screengrab from Teen's Digest website naming Brantford native Wayne Gretzky as No. 5 on their "Most Athletic Americans' list.

Screengrab from Teen's Digest website naming Brantford native Wayne Gretzky as No. 5 on their "Most Athletic Americans' list.


“The Great One” was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988 — but who knew his nationality went with him.

In a top 10 photo list displaying “The Most Athletic Americans,” Wayne Gretzky — forever No. 99 — is ranked fifth, according to Teen’s Digest, which was tweeted Wednesday by Historical Pics.

Here’s the problem — he was born and raised in Brantford, Ont.

“Wayne Gretzky is known as possibly the greatest American hockey player of all time,” read the caption. “He sent a fan craze across the nation and even into Canada and other countries because he was such a talented player. During his career in the NHL, he scored almost 3,000 goals. His skill on the ice far surpassed anyone else during his prime.”

Gretzky actually had almost 3,000 points.

Gretzky, now 53, led the Edmonton Oilers to four Stanley Cup finals in the 1980s and following his trade to L.A., he brought the Kings to the 1993 Stanley Cup final. He is credited for making Californians excited about hockey.

While Teen’s Digest and Historical Pics could not be reached Wednesday for comment, Brent Gretzky, 41, said his brother’s mark in Canadian hockey is indelible.

“If they want to call him American, that’s great,” said Brent, who was reached at his Brantford home by phone on Wednesday. “He’s always represented Canada well — whether it’d be family or sports-related, Olympics or even his travels. I believe that’s our upbringing and he always keeps them in high standards.”

Other Canucks also weighed in on the caption.

“Wayne’s popularity and stature transcends hockey,” said Tim Shipton, the Edmonton Oilers’ vice-president of communications. “He’s been on Saturday Night Live, has been on every magazine cover across North America and around the world. I guess it’s an honest mistake ... we’re just not ready to give him up yet and we’re certainly proud that he wore our jersey as a great player and a great Canadian.”

Adrienne Barnhardt, the general manager of Wayne Gretzky’s Toronto sports bar, said she couldn’t speak for the hockey player himself, but imagines “he thinks of himself as Canadian.”

The same year he was traded, Gretzky married American actress Janet Jones and, soon after, obtained dual citizenship.

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