Throwback Thursday: NHL Legends Wayne Gretzky, Joe Sakic and Mario Lemieux Reach Career Milestones
On this date in sports history, three hockey legends hit major milestones in their NHL careers.
Back in 1981, the career of "The Great One" Wayne Gretzky was just getting started but NHL fans knew he would be destined for hockey greatness. He had already won the Hart Memorial Trophy (league MVP) and nearly secured the Art Ross Trophy along with the Calder Memorial Trophy (top rookie). Still, the Edmonton Oilers star set records with the highest point total by a first-year player in NHL history and became the youngest player to score 50 goals.
On Dec. 27, 1981, Gretzky became the fastest player to score 100 points, doing so in just 34 games. Gretzky would also break another record a few days later as he scored 50 goals in 50 games, a record first set by the legendary Maurice "Rocket" Richard.
In 1999, Colorado Avalanche captain Joe Sakic reached numerous career milestones, including becoming the 56th player in NHL history to score 1,000 points. The Avalanche star would do so on Dec. 27, 1999 and would reach numerous career milestones in a season that saw him limited to just 60 games. Sakic would also become the 59th plyaer to score 400 career goals and asserted himself as the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche franchise all-time leader in points.
Just a year later, Marioi Lemieux returned to the ice following his retirement and battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma and injuries. Now the owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the NHL legend returned to action as a player on Dec. 27 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Lemieux would show that he still had plenty of game left as he scored a goal and collected three points in his NHL return. The Penguins great would only appear in 43 games during his first season back but still managed to score 76 points.
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