This was the headline of the Toronto Star sports section on Dec. 20, 1984. The photo above is from the paper that I kept since I was a Gretzky infatuated kid. The night before, Gretzky had tallied two goals and four assists vs. the Kings to reach the 1,000 point plateau. He achieved this in his 424th NHL game shattering the record for fastest 1, 000 points. In 1981 Guy Lafleur and Marcel Dionne had become the previous fastest in 720 and 740 game respectively.
In the article Gretzky says the lure of retirement may be more enticing than the career point total of 1,850 held by his idol, Gordie Howe. Gretzky is quoted, "I think I've said that I've played seven years and the professional hockey player averages four years. I'd definitely say I'm in the second half of my pro career." He also said he has no plans to double his point total to 2,000 points. "Barring injury, I'd say I have a shot at 1,500 to 1,600 points and let's go from there."
According to friends, the gruelling NHL schedule, his inability to settle down and his dread of flying have caused him to consider retirement before age 30.
Of course, he would take only two and a half more seasons to reach his goal of over 1,500 points.
In fact, from this milestone evening in December '84 to the end of his career, he would tally 1,852 points in 1,063 additional games over fifteen more seasons. Hardly the numbers of someone in "the second half of his career".