This day in sports: Kings’ Wayne Gretzky becomes the all-time NHL goal scorer

Kings great Wayne Gretzky cuts back while controlling the puck during a game against the Vancouver Canucks at the Forum in 1995.
(Los Angeles Times)

After announcing last week that the Los Angeles city public golf courses would remain open for play during the COVID-19 crisis, the Department of Recreation and Parks reversed that decision Sunday, issuing a statement saying all 12 of its courses including practice areas and driving ranges would close until further notice.

Many public courses in the area, including DeBell in Burbank, Simi Hills in Simi Valley and Rustic Canyon in Moorpark, had already shut down.

In games today canceled by the pandemic involving local teams, the Clippers were to play the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. The Clippers won the first meeting between the two teams Jan. 5 at Staples Center, 135-132.

The Ducks were also scheduled to play on the road, at Edmonton, to start a four-game trip. They beat the visiting Oilers 4-3 in overtime Feb. 25.


Here is a look at memorable games and outstanding sports performances on this date:

1957 — North Carolina defeats Wilt Chamberlain and Kansas in three overtimes to win the NCAA championship, 54-53. The Tar Heels finish the season 32-0. The Jayhawks lead by one point with eight seconds to go, but Joe Quigg makes two free throws and Kansas is unable to control an underthrown inbound pass. Even though he is named the tournament’s outstanding player and a consensus All-American, Chamberlain is criticized for failing to lead his team to the title.

1979 — Larry Holmes knocks out Ossie Ocasio in the seventh round at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas to retain his World Boxing Council heavyweight title. Holmes, known as the “Easton Assassin,” knocks down the younger and less-experienced Ocasio three times before the fight is stopped.


1984 — On the front page of The Times’ sports section, UCLA basketball coach Larry Farmer is offered a two-year extension on his contract that has a year to go. The question is will he take it? And, outdoors writer Earl Gustkey reels in a 500-pound blue marlin on a fishing excursion off the western coast of Mexico.

1991 — The London Monarchs beat the Frankfurt Galaxy 24-11 in the first World League of American Football game. The Monarchs would lead the WLAF in home attendance, averaging more than 40,000 a game in the inaugural season.

1993 — Winnipeg’s Teemu Selanne sets an NHL rookie points record in a 5-4 loss to Toronto. Selanne scores two goals and adds an assist to give the Finn 111 points, surpassing the 109 that Peter Stastny had recorded with Quebec in the 1980-81 season.

1994 — Wayne Gretzky scores career goal No. 802, passing his idol Gordie Howe as the greatest goal scorer in NHL history. The Kings center scores in the second period of a 6-3 loss to Vancouver at the Forum. Gretzky takes a give-and-go pass from Marty McSorely that leaves goaltender Kirk McLean out of position, exposing a nearly empty net.


1996 — Michelle Kwan of Torrance ends a near-perfect season by winning the women’s title at the world figure skating championships in Edmonton, topping defending champion Chen Lu of China. With Todd Eldredge taking the men’s crown earlier, Kwan’s victory gives the United States its first singles sweep since 1986.

1997 — Laura Davies is the first LPGA player to win the same tournament four consecutive years, making a three-foot par putt on the first playoff hole to beat Kelly Robbins at the Standard Register Ping tournament in Phoenix.

2002 — Iowa State’s Cael Sanderson becomes the first undefeated four-time NCAA wrestling champion at the NCAA finals. Sanderson beats Lehigh’s Jon Trenge 12-4 to win the 197- pound weight class competition and finish his college career 159-0.

Players are trying to find creative ways to keep themselves busy during the coronavirus outbreak that has put the NHL season on pause.


2003 — Tiger Woods closes the final round of the Bay Hill Arnold Palmer Invitational with a four-under-par 68 to win the Orlando, Fla., tournament for the fourth consecutive time. Woods is the first player since Gene Sarazen to win the same event four years in a row. Sarazen’s victories came at the Miami Open from 1926 to 1930.

2007 — Kobe Bryant is the second player in NBA history to score at least 50 points four games in a row when he tallies “half a hundred” in the Lakers’ 111-105 win at New Orleans. Only Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors had more, scoring at least 50 points in seven consecutive games during the 1961-62 season. Bryant’s streak ends two nights later when he scores 43 against Golden State at Staples Center.

2010 — The NFL changes its overtime rule for playoff games to give both teams an opportunity to get the ball. The rule stipulates, though, that if the team that wins the overtime coin toss scores a touchdown on its first possession, the game is over. Team owners vote 28-4 in favor of the proposal at the NFL meetings. Minnesota, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Baltimore vote against the change.

Sources: Los Angeles Times, Associated Press