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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Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness