At the age of 53, Wayne Gretzky may be considering an NHL return. No, he will not be lacing up the skates and throwing on his number 99 sweater (which has been retired by the NHL); instead, the “Great One” may be returning as an owner.
It is currently unknown if the group is looking into expansion, or purchasing and relocating an existing franchise. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said last month that the league is not currently in “expansion mode.;” noting that in Seattle specifically he doesn’t yet know if there is even the prospect of a building being constructed in Seattle that could house a franchise.
This would not be Gretzky’s first foray into NHL ownership. After retiring as the NHL’s all-time leading scorer in 1999, Gretzky became a minority owner of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2000. He took over as head coach for the Coyotes prior to the 2005-2006 season. He coached the franchise for four seasons, accumulating a record of 143 wins, 161 losses and 24 overtime loses.
After his tenure with the Coyotes had ended, his relationship with the league soured. The relationship appears to have been mended some, as the league reached an agreement in December to pay Gretzky nearly $8 million, to reimburse the estranged superstar for his losses during the Phoenix Coyotes’ bankruptcy in 2009. After the filing, the league took control of the franchise, until selling it last summer. The previous owner, Jerry Moyes, had owed Gretzky money at the time of the filing.
In 1,487 NHL games with the Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers, Gretzky had 894 goals, 1,963 assists and 2,857 points; all of which are NHL records.
Gretzky declined to comment on the report.