Hockey Great Wayne Gretzky Is Heading To The Simpsons

After 28 years, one would think that just about everyone who was a household name in the 1990s would have appeared on The Simpsons as a guest star at one point or another. There are still quite a few famous faces out there that have yet to be Simpson-ized, though, and the show got to cross a sports legend off that list, as it's been confirmed NHL icon Wayne Gretzky will appear on an episode later this season.

Many sports stars have popped up in Springfield and beyond for a Simpsons-flavored showdown, but Wayne Gretzky was not one of those names. In fact, he'll be the first hockey player to make an appearance on the animated hit. (The first one to speak, anyway, as an image of Gordie Howe showed up in a Season 3 episode.) He'll appear in "The Nightmare After Krustmas," which is set to air on December 11. And for anyone thinking that Gretzky might use this as a chance to pull off some Shakespearean-like skills in the acting realm, that probably won't happen, as he'll be playing himself. Get your first look at Gretzky Gone Yellow below.

A maestro on the ice for a whopping 21 seasons, Wayne Gretzky wowed crowds with four teams across the span of his career, and even though he's been retired from the sport for 17 years now, he still holds many of the NHL's major records. He actually showed up on both Conan and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert earlier this year in live-action, but this will be his first time animated for primetime. The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean has been a fan of Gretzky's for a long time, and had this to say about getting him involved, according to

We reached out to him. We were looking for heroes of the winter like Santa Claus and Jack Frost, and there couldn't be a bigger hockey hero than Wayne Gretzky.

For "The Nightmare After Krustmas," the Simpson family spends Christmas with Krusty and his daughter, and this will feature the [return of Jackie Mason][1] as Krusty's father, who'd died in a previous season. Elsewhere in the episode, Maggie will be afraid of a holiday toy, and Reverend Lovejoy will attempt to convert citizens to get his congregation growing. It's not clear where Wayne Gretzky will fit into any of that, but we'll bet he assists someone with something. After 28 years, one would think that just about everyone who was a household name in the 1990s would have appeared on The Simpsons as a guest star at one point or another.

With more big names coming in its extended future, The Simpsons airs Sunday nights on Fox, with Wayne Gretzky appearing on the December 11 installment. Head to our fall TV schedule and our midseason premiere schedule to see what else the small screen has to offer in the near future.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.