#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER
First he rewrote the record book. Now, to mark the NHL's ninety-ninth anniversary, Wayne Gretzky has written the story of our game.
In 99: Stories of the Game, Gretzky looks back on the last ninety-nine years and tells us, from his point of view, about the NHL’s most memorable moments. We already know what he means to the game. Now he shows us what the game means to him.
From hockey's fierce early battles on natural ice; through its mythical golden era, where Howe, Richard, Béliveau, Hull, Orr, and Esposito defined greatness; through the unforgettable dynasties in Montreal, New York, and Edmonton and the success stories of today’s NHL, Gretzky takes us onto the ice and into the dressing room to share never-before-published stories about the great players and great characters who have inspired him.
With the insight of someone who knows the incomparable thrill of lifting the Stanley Cup, as well as the agony of falling short against a bitter rival, Gretzky weaves in his own memories with the saga of the game that has meant so much to him.
Warm, direct, and personal, these are accounts of friendship and rivalry, triumphs and upsets, role players and heroes. All of them great stories of the game.
For the National Hockey League's 99th season, Gretzky (number 99), its greatest player ever, offers a look at back at some of hockey's pivotal moments and its greatest pioneers and for hockey fans, the book is great fun. Gretzky's well-known love for the game and respect for its history are evident in his narration. The book breezes through short histories of NHL teams, from the formation of the original six teams to expansion and the World Hockey Association, as well as memorable events such as the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the U.S.S.R., the Miracle on Ice, and the 1984 and 1987 Canada Cup tournaments. And of course the book is filled with a robust cast of great players, from the NHL's original superstar, Howie Morenz, to Gordie Howe, Gretzky's teammates and contemporaries, and the influx of great Russian and European players. There is even a short chapter on the experiences of hockey's first black players, Willie O'Ree and Herb Carnegie. It's fun to have "the Great One" narrate some of hockey's key moments, but the book feels hastily assembled, and for hardcore NHL fans, much of the history will be familiar. The book also lacks any real insights or revelations from Gretzky's own playing days. He remains one of hockey's great ambassadors, but as a hockey historian, he just misses the net.