Memorable sports moment of the week – Wayne Gretzky signs with the New York Rangers

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“The Great One” thrived in his first year as a New York Ranger.

16 years ago yesterday on July 21, 1996, “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky inked a two-year contract to perform with the New York Rangers.

Gretzky, who was reunited with his longtime Edmonton Oilers teammate Mark Messier in Gotham, ultimately played the final three seasons of his unrivaled career as a Ranger before retiring at the age of 37 in July 1999.

The legendary Canuck, who currently owns 61 NHL records and remains the only player to compile in excess of 200 points in one season, quickly hit the pinnacle of his tenure in Manhattan by leading the Broadway Blueshirts to the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Although the Rangers folded like a cheap-suit to the Flyers in five games, and missed an opportunity to reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in four years, Gretzky flourished in the playoffs that spring and amassed 10 goals and 10 assists.

Upon hanging up his skates, “the greatest hockey player ever” was immediately inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and his iconic jersey number 99 was forever retired league-wide.

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