5 Reasons Everyone Should Visit 9 & 99: The Howe • Gretzky Exhibition
The Hockey Hall of Fame’s limited time exhibition pays homage to two of the most legendary scorers of our generation: Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky or “Mr. Hockey” and “The Great One,” respectively. With more than 150 artifacts handpicked from their families’ personal collection, this is an exhibit that shouldn’t be missed. Here are only five of the many reasons to tour the iconic display.
1. It’s a chance to see Gretzky’s first pair of skates
They’re much more worn than you’d expect for a three-year-old’s first pair. The genuine scuffs, worn buckles and blunt blades on these tiny brown leather skates tell the story of just how much a young Wayne Gretzky loved the game. He would spend hours weaving in and out of pylons on the small backyard rink his father built in Brantford, Ontario. Even then his father began collecting his son’s gear knowing that one day someone would want to see it. Now, after an incredible career, the skates are lit up on display for all to see.
2. So you can say you saw the pucks that marked Howe’s record-breaking career
Under spotlights and in a glass diamond-shaped case, you’ll find Howe’s personal collection of milestone pucks with subtle, satisfying signs of their past — scratches and distressed markings. The 16 monumental pucks each represent an epic moment in “Mr. Hockey’s” legendary career. There’s a puck for the very first goal he made with the World Hockey Association, one for his 2,000th point scored in 1975 against Winnipeg, and another for the 545th goal that made Howe the highest goal scorer of his time, breaking the all-time National Hockey League record in 1963 against Montreal. It’s hard not to be in awe.
3. To take a selfie with Gretzky’s full gear from his final NHL game
Since all great things must come to an end, Wayne Gretzky would hang up his skates after one final game on April 18, 1999, when the New York Rangers took on the Pittsburgh Penguins. When he stepped off the ice, it would mark the end of a 20-year NHL career that re-wrote the record books and made “Gretzky” a household name. After some tearful reflection in his dressing-room stall, the Great One removed his gloves, jersey, and the rest of his gear and entrusted it to the HHOF. Now, it’s a huge presence in the new exhibit, and displayed right down to the iconic one-sided jersey tuck.
4. You can see the 9 & 99 jerseys side by side
One of the first displays you’ll see includes a jersey from each legend laid out side by side. One is the faded number 9 Detroit Red Wings jersey worn by Gordie Howe in the 1959-60 season when he scored that record-breaking 545th goal. Beside it lays the bright white number 99 LA Kings jersey worn by Wayne Gretzky in 1994. He broke Howe’s record in this jersey, taking the place of his idol and becoming the greatest goal scorer of all time. It’s quite remarkable to witness these two side by side.
5. To tour the rest of the legendary hockey displays
The exhibit is surrounded by the largest collection of hockey memorabilia in the world! If you’re not a diehard hockey fan, you will be after exploring the 65,000 square feet that is the Hockey Hall of fame. Get up close and personal with more than 90 original goalie masks, go one-on-one against life-size versions of today’s greatest players in the simulation zone, and call the play-by-play of some of hockey’s greatest goals. Not to mention, a photo with the Stanley Cup is serious profile picture material.
The 9 & 99: The Howe Gretzky Exhibition is on now for a limited time through March 2020. Don’t miss it!