“The Nice One” is headed from the entrance workplace to a cable tv studio.
Turner Sports activities has reached a multi-year settlement with Wayne Gretzky to be a studio analyst when its protection of the Nationwide Hockey League begins in October. He’ll seem throughout key moments within the common season — together with opening week and the Winter Traditional — after which all through the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Turner’s seven-year settlement begins subsequent season. In addition to regular-season and playoff video games, it additionally consists of the 2023, ’25 and ’27 Stanley Cup Finals on the TNT cable community.
Gretzky stated throughout a phone interview with The Related Press that the chance to affix Turner, in addition to another adjustments, led to this being the right time to maneuver into an analyst position. Gretzky and his spouse, Janet, moved to Missouri earlier this yr to be nearer to his mother-in-law, who turns 100 in August.
The transfer from California additionally permits them to be nearer to their two grandchildren, who’re in South Florida.
“We simply felt like, after the passing of my dad and my youngest going to varsity this yr, possibly this can be a good time to maneuver. We have form of grow to be empty nesters,” he stated. “Atlanta is an hour from Florida and an hour from St. Louis. So I assume the celebrities have been aligned. We get to spend so much of time with our household, and I get to do what I like to do, which is speak about hockey.”
In addition to Gretzky, Turner has finalized Kenny Albert and Eddie Olczyk as its high saying workforce. Albert and Olczyk are NBC’s high duo and can transfer to Turner on the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Finals.
“The thrilling additions of Wayne, Kenny and Eddie will jumpstart our NHL protection with a number of the greatest and largest abilities within the sport,” stated Tara August, senior vice chairman of Expertise Relations and Particular Initiatives at Turner Sports activities. “Their incomparable experiences inside the recreation and unparalleled depth of information will deliver a definite dimension to our recreation and studio protection. We’re thrilled to welcome them to the Turner Sports activities household.”
Gretzky has resigned as vice chairman of the Edmonton Oilers as a part of the transfer to Turner. He returned to the franchise he helped result in 4 Stanley Cups in 2016, the place his duties included engaged on the enterprise facet, in addition to supporting growth initiatives within the Rogers Place enviornment district.
Gretzky stated Turner reached out to him a pair months in the past a couple of potential position. He additionally acquired a recruiting pitch from former neighbor and TNT “Contained in the NBA” analyst Charles Barkley.
Though they’re good associates, Gretzky stated nobody ought to count on him to have the identical model or supply as Barkley, who’s a giant hockey fan.
“I will be trustworthy and forthright, however I am not, by any means, controversial,” Gretzky stated. “And simply so we’re very clear, I will be far more constructive than I’m destructive. That is simply my nature. You may nonetheless be important with out going over the sting.”
Whereas Gretzky is admittedly extra shy than Barkley, what he does deliver is the power to investigate the sport from all angles. In addition to a transcendent 20-year profession because the NHL’s all-time main scorer, he coached the Coyotes for 4 seasons and has been part of entrance places of work in Phoenix and Edmonton.
Very similar to he did in bringing the sport to new followers when he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988, Gretzky is hoping to proceed to develop the sport’s attain.
“I believe the sport is in a greater place than it is ever been earlier than. The younger gamers who’re within the recreation at this time are excellent athletes they usually signify the sport the best way it needs to be,” he stated. “And I am 60 years outdated. I do not want the stress of working a hockey workforce everyday. However this provides me a chance to speak concerning the recreation and attempt to take it to a different stage.
“I believe everybody has a duty who was a participant within the Nationwide Hockey League to attempt to develop the sport, and if I may be a part of making Turner a constructive venue for individuals to look at, I am all for it. In all seriousness, I want I may nonetheless play however sadly, that is not going to occur.”
Gretzky will spend the following couple of months watching the playoffs earlier than settling into the analyst chair. He sees residence ice turning into an even bigger issue as arenas proceed to develop capability. There additionally stays the uncertainty if Canada will open the border for the Northern Division champion to journey throughout the semifinals and finals, or in the event that they should relocate to the US.
“It is onerous to foretell proper now since you kind of bought to take it one recreation at a time,” he stated. “It is by no means been extra true due to COVID, however I believe that is the place we’re at proper now.”