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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine