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Throwback Thursday: 21 years ago today, Edmonton Oilers retire Wayne Gretzky’s No. 99

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday!

It was 21 years ago today that the Edmonton Oilers rose No. 99 to the rafters.

The ceremony gave fans, friends, and members of the organization once last chance to celebrate Gretzky as he rode around the ice on the back of a pickup truck for one final lap.

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“They stood, they cheered, they chanted his name, some cried,” penned the Edmonton Journal’s Dan Barnes. “He looked those people in the eye, smiled and made their day again with the simplest of gestures.”

“When I was in New York it was such a celebration for me,” Gretzky said after the ceremony. “I didn’t want anyone to be emotional.I didn’t want anyone, I guess, with tears. Everyone respected my wishes.

“Here it was more emotional for me. It was finally over, officially over. When I saw the banner raised I got emotional. That’s when I realized I was done, that I had probably… that I had played my last game.”

Gretzky had retired only months prior. His final game was with the New York Rangers, a 2-1 OT loss, on April 18, 1999 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. His final point came in that game, the lone assist on a Brian Leetch goal.

He retired with records that are likely to never be broken. In 1487 NHL games, he scored 894 goals, 1963 assists and 2857 points.

On Twitter: @zjlaing

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