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.

Stratford sunset: the stadium and the Orbit observation tower

How the internet will solve an Olympian puzzle

Millions of spectators and tourists are expected to flock to London this summer, placing a huge strain on essential services. Rhodri Marsden looks at IT's role in keeping things running

Toronto, Canada's largest city; former US vice-president Dick Cheney

O Canada, you're too dangerous for Dick Cheney

Peter Ustinov once called Toronto "New York run by the Swiss", meaning that Canada's largest city has everything the Big Apple does, but is just a bit cleaner, friendlier, more efficient and – well, Swiss. It might be an overstatement but, as a big metropolis, it does feel safe. But not safe enough for former US vice-president Dick Cheney, who yesterday pulled out of a talk in the city due to fears about his safety. Is he right to be scared? What are Toronto's potential dangers?

Some guys get all the puck: Seann William Scott plays the title role in Goon as a childlike gentle giant

Goon, Michael Dowse, 90 mins (15)
Mother And Child, Rodrigo Garcia, 122 mins (15)

Thank goodness, a comedy lead who's the very opposite of a smart alec. But this tale of a brawling ice-hockey star doesn't pack much of a punch

Ben Hawes:

Ben Hawes: 'Bionic Ben' is ready to turn mettle into gold

Hockey player tells Sue Mott how he's overcome awful injuries – and the insertion of metal plates – to push for London 2012 glory

Anne Panter: Not so jolly hockey sticks

She has returned the GB women's team after a career-threatening series of injuries, including an horrific car smash

Stand-in twin denied prize after miracle hockey shot

A boy who hit an ice hockey puck into a tiny hole from the rink's centre line 27 metres away has been denied $50,000 prize money, because his identical 11-year-old twin brother bought the ticket that allowed him to take the shot.

Hockey: Tindall secures England bronze

James Tindall struck a golden-goal winner to give England a 2-1 victory over Belgium and the bronze medal at the EuroHockey Nations Championships. Reading defender Richard Mantell had fired England ahead from a penalty corner in the sixth minute, but Alexandre De Paeuw pulled Belgium level after 42 minutes.

Hockey: Middleton double relieves England

Two goals from captain Barry Middleton helped England get their European title defence off to a winning start with a 4-2 victory over Ireland in Monchengladbach. Middleton's first put England ahead for the first time in the match while his second late in the game relieved the pressure that had been building following John Jermyn's penalty corner goal ten minutes from time.

Top nations take note as Team GB's women's hockey side run into form at the right time

Team GB, led by England captain Kate Walsh, are up to fourth in the world and tipped to capture medals

Palin's film panned by the critics

If Sarah Palin was hoping to sweep to power on the back of a documentary celebrating her rise from "hockey mom" to national power broker, then nobody told the critics.

Hockey: England end Australia's eight-year record

England's women registered their first tournament win over Australia for eight years with a 3-2 victory at the Champions Trophy in Amsterdam yesterday.

Hockey: Walsh beats the drum as England prepare to put down 2012 marker

England captain Kate Walsh believes the build-up to the London Olympics begins today – more than 12 months before they open – at the Champions Trophy in Holland.

Winners, losers and in-betweens learn their fate in Olympic ticket lottery

When hundreds of thousands of sports fans had money debited from their accounts last month, they knew they had secured a ticket for next year's Olympic Games. But no one who had applied for more than one event could be certain which one they were going to attend.

Second ticket rush for London 2012

A further 2.3 million tickets for London 2012 are to go on sale next Friday.

Hilary Duff 'excited' for kids

Hilary Duff is "excited" at the prospect of starting a family.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project