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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Prices correct as of 12 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas