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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn