These events occured in 1988 in the world of hockey:
- Art Ross Memorial Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer during the regular season: Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Hart Memorial Trophy for the NHL's Most Valuable Player: Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Stanley Cup – Edmonton Oilers won 4 games to 0 over the Boston Bruins
- World Hockey Championship –
- Men's champion: Soviet Union won the Olympic gold medal
- Junior Men's champion: Canada defeated the USSR
August 9 - Wayne Gretzky is traded to the Los Angeles Kings
- The ECHL begins its first season of play as the East Coast Hockey League, with five founding teams: the Carolina Thunderbirds (now Wheeling Nailers), the Erie Panthers (now Victoria Salmon Kings), the Johnstown Chiefs, the Knoxville Cherokees (later Pee Dee Pride), and Virginia Lancers (now Utah Grizzlies).
December 31 - in a game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils, Mario Lemieux scores five goals and becomes the only player in NHL history to score a goal in all five possible game situations in the same game: even-strength, power play, shorthanded, penalty shot, and empty net.