Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

It’s gotta be rough being the Great One

Over the last couple seasons, we have been treated to shots of the greatest hockey player of all time in luxury boxes during games. While the emotions on his face are easy to read, it’s not as easy to tell exactly what the Great One exactly does around the Oilers.

Wayne made his triumphant return to Edmonton as Partner and Vice-Chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group in October 2016. When they announced he was joining team OEG his role was yet to be defined according to this CBC article.Team owner Daryl Katz added, “He’ll work with Gretzky and CEO Bob Nicholson overseeing the business of the Oilers Entertainment Group, but stressed day to day management of the team won’t change.This is Peter Chiarelli’s team and he calls the shots.” It was an interesting role for Gretzky to take on; he went from having a hand in Team Canada and the Arizona Coyotes to becoming the figurehead of the Oilers.

Retired life

It didn’t take long after retirement for Gretzky to do what a lot of Canadians do after they call it a career, he invested in Arizona. Instead of it being property, the Great One bought a share of the Phoenix Coyotes.

He made the transition from being running a team on the ice to doing it from an office as the ‘yotes Managing Partner of Hockey Operations. As time went on, he became more and more involved with the club both financially and on ice by becoming their head coach. He had his hands in the pot as a part of the Coyotes; it’s fully understandable, he had sunk his money into an unstable investment.


He was heavily involved with Hockey Canada at the 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics as the Executive Director of the men’s team. He held the reins of the team as he oversaw all hockey operations and had final say in personnel and players.

After a slow start at the Salt Lake Olympics Gretzky pulled a card his former coach Glen Sather was famous for, he lashed out at critics of his team. Don’t expect him to do that anytime here in Edmonton.

Re-joining the Oilers

As I stated earlier Gretzky’s role at the time of his hiring wasn’t yet defined, and as it turns out, it still wasn’t last February when he talked to Mark Spector about it. Now I’m not here questioning what Wayne is collecting a pay cheque for, and he doesn’t have to answer that. I’m here writing that it has to be hard for Wayne to watch the on-ice product. That’s right, you think it’s hard to watch? Imagine how cringe-worthy it is at times for the greatest player of the game to watch and have no say what so ever.

From what it seems Wayne makes a lot of appearances at Oiler and Oil King-related events. For those of you who noticed he was hanging out with Oilers brass in Dallas, it was reported by Elliotte Friedman the Oilers are going to be meeting sponsors and Katz at his home on the trip, I assume that’s why Wayne’s on the road.

Do you think Gretzky grinds his teeth watching these games? Do you disagree with me and think he has a little more pull than anyone lets on? Let me know in the comments below!

  • BringitbacklikeSlats

    Hard to imagine he doesn’t get listened to with his brother in charge of scouting… obviously Keith has PC’s ear.
    I’m more concerned that the triple threat of Kevin, Scott, and MacT are having their say. Those three Mouskateers are the architects of going on the second decade of abject failure so I pray to god they don’t even though everyone knows they do. Some things never change

  • Wince

    I am pretty sure Gretz is just along to drink with the fellas. Seems most everyone I know has a “Gretzky was suuuper smashed” story. I kind of feel sad for him. Canadian press doesn’t talk about it just like the US press didn’t talk about Mickey Mantle.

  • Serious Gord

    Gretzky on the payroll is symptomatic of the entitled rot that allfucts the team from Nicholson on Down. It needs to be cleared out and replaced with guys who have something to prove – who represent the future – not the past of hockey.

  • camdog

    Anybody remember the interview when PC got hired, the one where he says he doesn’t mind losing trades? I wonder what the other GM’s think of that? Who want to lose a trade to that GM. Tough to make trades when everybody knows you are weak.

  • jfk11

    Gretzky looks disgusted when he sees McDavid dominating while a bunch pylons (teammates) can’t keep up to the speed of the game. Then he sees the loaded Penguins, enjoy 4 power plays per game being able to put Malkin, Crosby, Letang, Kessel, Hornquist on the same ice. Basically the only thing keeping 87 in the top 20 in scoring is that PP.
    Then in Edmonton we see 97 literally skate circles around everyone and create almost all of the teams scoring opportunities. There is something wrong with this picture. It is the GM. He royally messed up by icing a bunch of players like 55, 13, 18, etc, etc who are total momentum killers and unless players.

  • Anton CP

    I will repeat this again, the same thing I’ve said many times over the season: the Oilers are not as good as last year’s record indicated. They were massively overachieved last season and massively underachieved this season. I wonder if the Oilers missed the playoffs or only barely qualified last season that the outcry for FIRE EVERYONE would be this loud.

    • camdog

      Glen Sather was loved in these parts because he could and would win a trade. For Peter to be respected in town he needs to win more trades. every time he loses a trade to Garth Snow he looks weak.

      Nobody really cared Eberle got traded, but they sure cared about the return. Not too long ago Oilers management was whispering to national media about Strome’s poor performance. Guess what, he’s the same player he was with the Islanders. The Strome trades remind me of the Reinhart trade. After both trades the GM was immediately disappointed in the player he had acquired.

      This comes back to my original point can you imagine Sather coming to this town and saying he doesn’t mind losing a trade? How do you get market value for a player when you say things like this?

      • Anton CP

        That is the problem, so the first ever trade that Chiarelli made was a terrible one but how many realized that at the time? If his first ever trade was the terrible one, do you fire him on the spot? At the time that the Oilers need lots of good defenseman since MacT acquired no quality dman whatsoever (or even draft enough of it, total of 3 dman drafted in two years…). The funny thing about how many are now crying that the Oilers missed out on Barzal but they did not realize even with that pick still in Chiarelli’s hand that he will take Chabot instead. Barzal was never the option for Chiarelli nor the Oilers, the roster at the time was already loaded with small forwards that are very thin at the back.

        Disappointed in Strome could just be the expectation was high, Eberle is really not doing much better (4 PPP so far) with the Isles considering that team was firing on all cylinders (ok, so you would say that 30 points is pretty good but that puts him in 69th in points and 5th on the Islanders). I doubt that Strome would be much worst than Eberle if he is still with them and I strongly doubt Eberle would be much better if he is still with the Oilers. By trimming 6m cap off (Strome contract will be expired by next season and the Oilers can cut him loose if he is really a big disappointment) is a big deal since so many contracts will be expired by then.

        I will say this to everyone that feels Chiarelli to be fired, you are a great fortune teller.

  • Johnny Zylon

    If the entire coaching staff and GM were fired tomorrow and Gretzky took over both positions , I would not complain. He’s a hockey man with a hockey mind. Things would look up from here.

        • 99superfan

          Well your all wrong! First off they went and signed their 2 best players on the team way to much money with long term contracts!! That never fails, then they traded a super fast Canadian for a slow ass Sweede. As far as the past years of horrible 1st round draft picks? You have to put a little onis on the scouts, Kevin Lowe and Mac T, because thats who does the overall picks. Wayne is the greatest and what did he have to work with in Arizona???? Not much and they’re even worse now!!! Coach? No!! G.M? Yes!!
          But if you look at other great coaches on other teams? They weren’t the best players but they know the game. Gretzky once said “ you can be a good GM if you can go to a rink and pick out the best player on the ice? “
          The Oilers are done this year!
          As far as Mcdavid and The German Diesel go? You can’t pay 2 players all that money and then put a stanley cup winning team around them overnight!!
          And the Leafs and Shannahan go? He had good hockey minds around to pick the right players, but they’re the Leafs and still suck!!!!