Embodying greatness when it comes to class, graciousness and generosity, Wayne and Janet Gretzky will receive the highest award for sportsmanship: the Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award. The Gretzkys will be honored at the 2021 Musial Awards taking place at Stifel Theatre in St. Louis on Saturday, Nov. 20.
The Musial Awards presented by Maryville University celebrate the year’s greatest moments of sportsmanship and those in sports who exemplify class and character. The national event and its awards are named for St. Louis Cardinals legend Stan Musial, a beloved baseball superstar and civic ambassador, who was the ultimate good sport.
Awarded annually at the Musial Awards, the Lifetime Achievement Award honors iconic sports figures who are synonymous with sportsmanship and the qualities for which Musial was known.
Wayne is undeniably one of the greatest hockey players of all time. He held 61 NHL records when he retired in 1999 and remains at the top of the league’s list for goals, assists and points. His stats earned him the nickname as “The Great One.” But so did his integrity, grace, humility and genuineness, which have been hallmarks of his life and career. There’s even a sportsmanship stat that attests to his greatness: He is a five-time winner of the Lady-Byng Memorial Trophy – awarded annually to the NHL player who exhibits the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability. No other living NHL player has won the award as many times.
Janet, who grew up in St. Louis and married Wayne in 1988, enjoyed a successful acting and dancing career – appearing in several movies, TV shows and musicals. Her credits include Annie, Staying Alive, The Flamingo Kid and A League of Their Own. But while known for her work on screen, behind the scenes she has made an impact in raising awareness and funds for several charities. Having lost two sisters to breast cancer, she is especially active in efforts to fund research and support those battling the disease.
“Knowing how beloved Stan was and the way he carried himself on and off the field, it is tremendously humbling to receive an award named for him,” Wayne said. “It also means a lot to me that Janet and I are being honored together because I’m so proud of the work she has done and the generosity she has shown to important causes. I hope this recognition inspires more families to get involved with charitable efforts and encourages us all to be good sports in every aspect of life.”
The Musial family said, “We are thrilled that Wayne and Janet are accepting this year’s Musial Lifetime Achievement Award. There is no greater ambassador or personification of excellence and sportsmanship in hockey than Wayne. And it’s special to us that he and Janet are sharing this honor because it reminds us of the love and appreciation that our parents, Stan and Lil, had for each other. Throughout their marriage, they were quite a team. And together, Wayne and Janet have been models of kindness and graciousness.”
As this year’s recipients of the Musial Lifetime Achievement Award for Sportsmanship, the Gretzkys join a prestigious group of past winners that includes Joe Torre (2014), Arnold Palmer (2015), Cal Ripken Jr. (2016), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (2017), Jim Thome (2018), Bart Conner & Nadia Comaneci (2019), and Hank Aaron (2020).
Wayne and Janet will be honored at the Musial Awards alongside several individuals recognized for acts of sportsmanship that represent the best in sports and humanity. The full lineup of honorees will be announced in October.
The Musial Awards will air throughout the country as a one-hour special on CBS at 5 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. CT on Christmas Day. The broadcast will feature the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award plus all of the inspiring stories and honorees celebrated at the live show in St. Louis. This is the third year the Musial Awards will be on CBS.
MUSIAL AWARDS TICKETS
Tickets for the 2021 Musial Awards, ranging from $10 to $38 (inclusive of the facility fee), are on sale through Ticketmaster. More information and a link to purchase tickets is available at MusialAwards.com/tickets.
MORE ON THE MUSIALS
The Musial Awards presented by Maryville University takes place annually on the Saturday before Thanksgiving at the historic 3,000-seat Stifel Theatre in Downtown St. Louis. The show is produced by the St. Louis Sports Commission and the National Sportsmanship Foundation, a charitable nonprofit organization. In addition to keeping Stan The Man’s legacy alive, the mission of the Musial Awards is to encourage kindness, selflessness, integrity and civility in sports and society – and to inspire people across the nation to be good sports. The event has occurred in St. Louis since 2005. Maryville University has served as the presenting sponsor since 2011. The school’s involvement, leadership and generosity have helped make the Musial Awards the most inspiring night in sports.