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.

Hockey: Germany's golden goal sinks Britain

Germany's men struck with a golden goal to lift the Four Nations title with a 3-2 win as Great Britain squandered a 2-0 lead here. The hosts had forged an impressive advantage as Barry Middleton scored with a sublime lob and then James Tindall fired home a penalty corner.

Hockey: Germans end England World Cup dream

England's Hockey World Cup campaign ground to a halt today as they were beaten 4-1 by Germany in the semi-finals.

Hockey: England to meet arch-rivals Germany in the semi-finals

England will face Germany in tomorrow's World Cup semi-final after the latter beat New Zealand 5-2 to top Pool A yesterday. The Netherlands lost to South Korea 2-1 but joined Germany in the semi-finals where they will meet Pool B winner Australia.

Hockey: England pipped to top spot after loss to Spain

England slumped to a 2-0 defeat to Spain in their final group match at the World Cup in New Delhi yesterday.

Hockey: England stave off India to reach World semi

England claimed a place in the semi-finals of the Hockey World Cup with a game to spare after beating the hosts India 3-2 in Delhi. Victories in their first four games mean England are into the last four, but they were forced to withstand a fierce fightback from India in Saturday's match.

Hockey: Mantell's injury upsets English progress toward last four

England can take a huge step towards a place in the semi-finals of the World Cup if they overcome hosts India in Delhi today; with the Indians having played three and lost two, putting them out of the race for the next round, their chances look promising.

Hockey: England keep winning at World Cup

England made it two wins out of two at the World Cup in New Delhi when they came from behind to beat South Africa 6-4 yesterday. Marvin Harper opened the scoring for South Africa after 10 minutes, but Richard Mantell levelled with the first of his two penalty corner goals four minutes later, and England were in front in the 23rd minute when Rob Moore found the net.

Hockey: England open World Cup by shocking favourites

James Tindall struck twice to enable England to pull off a surprise 3-2 victory over the tournament favourites Australia on the opening day of the men's World Cup in New Delhi yesterday.

Stand by for an ice storm in Vancouver

Canada survive late shock to set up gold showdown with electrifying Americans

James Lawton: Canada driven by Tigerish desire to succeed in struggle on the ice

At a time when England's football team is rent by the repercussions of a bad case of the sweet life going wrong, you can only marvel, so far at least, at the ferociously single-minded approach of Canada's ice hockey men.

James Lawton: Canadians dream of grand finale

There might be a disgruntled muskrat somewhere deep in Manitoba or Saskatchewan but the rest of Canada has rarely been quite so exultantly at peace with itself.

Canada relief after hockey team beat Russia

Canada's dream of men's ice hockey gold stayed alive thanks to an impressive 7-3 quarter-final win over Olympic title rivals Russia.

James Lawton: Canadians fear return of a miracle

Canadian manhood is, barring some unimaginable disaster in the small hours of this morning, on the line today when the virtuoso Russian stick-handlers stand in the way of the ultimate climax to these XXI Olympics.

James Lawton: The great red face-off

Ice hockey's two great stars, from Canada and Russia, are on collision course
Career Services

Day In a Page

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