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.
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!