Wayne and Janet Gretzky are being recognized for their “class, graciousness, and generosity” with the Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award. The honor is the highest award for sportsmanship and will take place on November 20th at the Stifel Theatre in St. Louis.
Musial was one of baseball’s all-time greats as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. The award began in 1999 with the Citizenship Through Sports Alliance which recognized character in sports. It was ultimately renamed the Stan Musial Award in 2012.
The Gretzky’s being honored
“Knowing how beloved Stan was and the way he carried himself on and off the field, it is tremendously humbling to receive an award named for him,” Wayne said on the Musial Awards website. “It also means a lot to me that Janet and I are being honored together because I’m so proud of the work she has done and the generosity she has shown to important causes. I hope this recognition inspires more families to get involved with charitable efforts and encourages us all to be good sports in every aspect of life.”
Janet, grew up in St. Louis and the Gretzky’s still have a home there. “It’s a big part of our life. My wife and her family are from St. Louis and it’s a tremendous city as everyone knows who lives here,” Wayne said back in 2020. “It’s just a really great place to raise a family and be a part of.”
The Musial Family was happy that both Wayne and Janet were receiving the award. “It’s special to us that he and Janet are sharing this honor because it reminds us of the love and appreciation that our parents, Stan and Lil, had for each other.”
The award show will air on Christmas Day on CBS at 5PM ET. Check your local listing.
The Great One
Number 99 holds or shares 61 NHL records. He is the game’s all-time leading goal scorer (894), assist getter (1962), and point producer (2856). Matter of fact, had Gretzky never scored a goal, he’d still be the all-time leader in points by 41, over Jaromir Jagr’s 1921 points.
The “Great One” as he’s been dubbed, started shooting tennis balls at his grandmother as soon as he could stand. He learned the game being glued to Hockey Night in Canada with a notepad and a pencil. While watching he would just draw where the puck was going. Call him your first analytics guru if you will.
Why did he do this? He told people it was because he wanted to see where the puck was on the ice most of the time.
It soon became apparent to him that setting up behind the net was a great way to generate offense and pick up points. That spot behind the goal is now officially known as Gretzky’s Office.
Wayne also popularized the sport to a broader U.S. audience with his trade to the L.A. Kings in 1988. He’s widely considered a key reason why there are hockey teams in the Sunbelt. The state of California saw the Sharks come on in 1991 and the Ducks in 1993. Florida also joined in with the Panthers in 1993 after the Lightning joined in 1992.
“Everything I have in my life, I owe to the game of hockey,” Gretzky once said. The game owes him just as much.