Sport New York Rangers player Wayne Gretzky in his final career game

Wayne Gretzky, ice hockey’s greatest player,  was born in 1961 in Ontario, Canada, where the sport is more a religion than a hobby. He first skated at the age of two on a rink that his dad Walter had made in the garden of their family home. At six, Gretzky was playing in an under-10s team. His jersey was too big for him, so he started to tuck in the right side of it, a superstition that stuck with him throughout his career.

USA Hockey accidentally tells 67-year-old Canadian he could make Sochi Winter Olympics team

Man says ‘I’d be happy to play for you’

Exeter to Edinburgh and back in a day: How one fresher's lost bet left him facing a 900-mile round trip

Hockey team prank leaves Australian Jack Banister with a 16-and-a-half-hour journey

Ice hockey fans throw 25,921 teddy bears onto the ice in bizarre scenes in Calgary

The toys will be distributed to charities and children in hospital

Sport minister Helen Grant fails to answer single question correctly in TV quiz

She is Britain’s Minister for sport, a former judo champion and recently told The Independent that sport was in her DNA. But Helen Grant’s sporting credential fell spectacularly short in a quiz when she failed to answer a single question correctly - including the name of the FA cup title holders and this year’s Wimbledon women’s champion.  

Finger-pointing: Greg Dyke had his chance and blew it. The self-styled radical has set up a talking shop, not an instrument of change

The Last Word: Here's the bold commission Greg Dyke should have chosen...

Greg Dyke had his chance and blew it. Instead of innovation and imagination, he chose conservatism and conciliation. The Football Association's self-styled radical was excessively respectful to the dysfunctional system he supposedly seeks to dismantle.

Germany celebrate

Hockey: Germany beat England – on penalties

England 4 Germany 4 (Germany win penalty shoot-out 2-0): Title dreams dashed as women's team's first European final for 22 years is hit by shoot-out jinx

England coach Jason Lee

British Olympic coach Jason Lee hoping to guide women side through World League semi-finals and qualify for next year's World Cup

Having led the men's side at London 2012, Lee is now focused on seeing the women's team progress to the 2014 World Cup in Holland

India lift the World Cup trophy at Lord’s in June 1983

The shot that made India cricket kings

The IPL, their rise to one-day greatness, the demise of Lord’s as the home of cricket – all these things stem from one mistimed Viv Richards pull.

What's worse than finding a mouse in your flat?

Student houses aren’t always in the best nick, but vermin aren’t the only things you need to worry about. Eleanor Doughty discovered the one thing worse than finding a mouse behind her dresser...

Making sport more competitive? PE lessons already embarrass and alienate some students

Why not give students the choice of which activity they partake in?

Eboni Beckford-Chambers of England defends against New Zealand last year

Netball: Goodbye to the pleated skirt as playground game grows up

England's new promise faces the toughest test with the visit of world champions Australia

A view of the Olympic Stadium

Golden Games fails to drag youngsters from the couch

Although participation in the key 16-25 age range has seen no growth

Hannah Macleod’s prize sent to hockey HQ – but another bronze stolen from nightclub still unaccounted for

Hannah Macleod's stolen Olympic bronze medal returned anonymously by post

An Olympic bronze medal that was stolen from Team GB hockey player Hannah Macleod earlier this week has been anonymously returned.

High-jumper Robbie Grabarz

Drop it, flog it, give to your dog... but just don't lose your Olympic medal!

Charlie Cooper on the stars who had their medals stolen – and the extreme measures others take to keep theirs safe

Rower Alex Partridge and hockey star Hannah Macleod took to social networking site Twitter to appeal for information to find their Olympic bronze medals

Olympians make desperate pleas after London 2012 medals are stolen during party

Two of Britain's Olympic winners have reportedly had their medals stolen, only hours after the Queen hosted a glittering Buckingham Palace event to celebrate London 2012 athletes.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?