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Official SBN Party Pooper
20,262 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm surprised he's coming back to coach. I think after a career like that would else would he have to prove?

I'd be living up the retired life :D

PHOENIX -- Wayne Gretzky, the NHL's all-time leading scorer, will be the new coach of the Phoenix Coyotes, The Arizona Republic reported on its Web site and ESPN confirmed Sunday.

The Coyotes scheduled a news conference for Monday at 4 p.m. ET.

"We have a major announcement to make Monday," said team spokesman Rick Braunstein, who declined to elaborate on the reason for the news conference.

Gretzky, co-owner Steve Ellman, general manager Mike Barnett and team captain Shane Doan didn't immediately return calls seeking comment.

There had been speculation for over a year that Gretzky would move from the Coyotes front office to behind their bench. Barnett originally asked Gretzky in June 2004 if he was interested in coaching.

But the nine-time MVP wanted to wait until a new collective bargaining agreement was in place before deciding whether to coach. That happened in mid-July, but the negotiations ran on. Gretzky is in the final year of a five-year contract with the club.

Barnett, Gretzky's former agent and longtime friend, said the decision would rest with the hockey great and his family, who live in Los Angeles.

"One day it's yes and the next day it's no. I don't know what's going on," Bobby Hull, the agent-brother of Coyotes forward Brett Hull, said Sunday night.

He said Brett Hull, an 18-year veteran who was Gretzky's teammate in St. Louis, was traveling for several days and had no plans to be in the Phoenix area Monday.

ESPN also confirmed former Detroit assistant coach Barry Smith will be one of Gretzky's assistants along with former Coyotes player Rick Tocchet and interim head coach Rick Bowness.

The opening exists because Bob Francis was fired on Feb. 24, 2004. Bowness filled in as coach for the remainder of the season.

Gretzky retired in 1999 after 20 seasons in the NHL. "The Great One" helped the Edmonton Oilers win four Stanley Cups, and is the NHL's all-time leading goal, assist and point producer in the regular season and playoffs.

Gretzky has already committed to serve as executive director for Team Canada at the Winter Olympics in Turin in February.

The Coyotes have a new $220 million arena, which they have yet to play a full season in. They moved to the Glendale Arena in December 2003, but they didn't get the opportunity to open a season there before the lockout began.

556 Posts
Maybe he's one of the rare breeds where it really is about the love of the game, not about trying to continually prove anything? I mean, he is the greatest player ever - what the hell else can he do to top that, except maybe add greatest coach ever to his list?

And damn, surely he knows a thing or two he could teach!

King of Oilernation
1,237 Posts
It's no coincidence that former stars never have much success as coaches. I bet he doesn't do to well.
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