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Taught by his father Walter Wayne Gretzky was a prodigy At 6 years old he was skating with 10 year-olds and he scored 378 goals in 85 games This was when the first story on him was ever published in the Toronto papers At 14 Wayne played against 20 year-olds where he not only left his hometown to further his career but also escape the jealousy his on-ice achievements often created His parents made two complete strangers who they had never met to be his legal guardians He soon signed with his first agent Wayne played one year in the Ontario Hockey League at the age of 16 with the Greyhounds where he began wearing 99 on his jersey since his idol Gordie Howes number 9 was being worn by a teammate The next year he signed with the World Hockey Association and Eight games into the season his contract was bought by the owner of the Edmonton Oilers After the 1978-79 seasons four WHA teams including the Oilers joined the National Hockey League In his first NHL season 1979-80 Gretzky was awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy as the Leagues Most Valuable Player which would be the first of eight in a row and tied for the scoring lead with 137 points Gretzky was not eligible for the trophy given to the top NHL rookie because of his previous year of professional experience In his second season Gretzky won the Art Ross with a single-season record 164 points and won his second straight Hart Trophy The Oilers were a young talented team with forwards like Mark Messier and Jari Kurri defenseman Paul Coffey and Gretzky as its captain In 1983 they made it to the Stanley Cup finals just to be swept by the three-time defending champions New York Islanders The next season the Oilers met the Islanders in the Finals again this time winning the first of four Stanley Cups over the next five
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