Gretzky to be part of All-Star festivities

Wayne Gretzky will return to the city where he began his professional hockey career as part of the 2018 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic.

Wayne Gretzky will return to Indy for the All-Star Game.

The Indy Fuel announced Thursday that Gretzky will be in Indianapolis and be the guest of honor at the ECHL All-Star Game, which will be held Jan. 15, 2018 at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.

He will drop the first puck, and also be part of a special pregame ceremony.

“It is an honor to be involved with the ECHL All-Star Classic,” Gretzky said in a statement released by the Fuel. “I am looking forward to returning to Indianapolis to join the celebration in January.”

Gretzky played eight games for the World Hockey Association’s Indianapolis Racers in 1978, tallying his first pro goal at Market Square Arena against the Edmonton Oilers’ Dave Dryden. While living in Indianapolis, he attended classes at Broad Ripple High School. He was traded to the Edmonton Oilers, where he finished off a 110-point season and led the Oilers to the WHA Avco World Trophy Final that spring, then rewrote the NHL’s record book, winning four Stanley Cups with the Oilers.

Throughout his career in the NHL and WHA, which spanned 21 seasons, Gretzky played 1,567 games, scored 940 goals and tallied 2,027 assists and 2,967 points, holding the North American major league hockey records in all categories. He holds the NHL scoring records for goals (92), assists (163) and points (215) in a season. He won the Hart Trophy nine times as the NHL’s MVP, and was a 10-time Art Ross Trophy winner as the league’s leading scorer. He was a five-time Lester Pearson Award winner as the MVP chosen by the NHLPA, and a five-time Lady Byng Trophy recipient as the NHL’s most gentlemanly player. Gretzky was named the Conn Smythe Trophy recipient as playoff MVP twice. He also tallied 402 points in the playoffs in his NHL & WHA career, which spanned 21 seasons with the Racers, Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers.