Wayne Gretzky rejoint Turner Sports –

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Wayne Gretzky rejoint Turner Sports – fr


“The Great One” is directed from the front office to a cable television studio.

Turner Sports struck a multi-year deal with Wayne Gretzky to become a studio analyst when his National Hockey League coverage begins in October. He will appear at key times in the regular season – including opening week and the Winter Classic – and then throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Turner’s seven-year deal begins next season. Along with the regular season and playoff games, it also features the 2023, 25 and 27 Stanley Cup Finals on the TNT cable network.

Gretzky said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that the opportunity to join Turner, along with other changes, made him the perfect time to take on an analyst role. Gretzky and his wife, Janet, moved to Missouri earlier this year to be closer to his stepmother, who turns 100 in August.

The move from California also allows them to be closer to their two grandchildren, who are in South Florida.

“We just felt that after the passing of my father and my youngest who went to college this year, maybe it was a good time to move. We’ve kind of become empty nesters, ”he said. “Atlanta is an hour from Florida and an hour from St. Louis. So I guess the stars were aligned. We spend a lot of time with our family and I can do what I love to do, which is talk hockey.

Besides Gretzky, Turner finalized Kenny Albert and Eddie Olczyk as his best announcement team. Albert and Olczyk are NBC’s top duo and will move on to Turner at the end of the Stanley Cup Final.

“The exciting additions of Wayne, Kenny and Eddie will reignite our NHL coverage with some of the best and greatest talent in the sport,” said Tara August, senior vice president of Talent Relations and Special Projects at Turner Sports . “Their unrivaled in-game experiences and unmatched depth of knowledge will bring a distinct dimension to our game and studio coverage. We are delighted to welcome them to the Turner Sports family. “

Gretzky has resigned as vice-president of the Edmonton Oilers as part of the move to Turner. He returned to the franchise he helped lead to four Stanley Cups in 2016, where his duties included working on the business side, as well as supporting development initiatives in the Rogers Place Arena district.

Gretzky said Turner contacted him a few months ago about a potential role. He also received a recruiting pitch from former neighbor and TNT “Inside the NBA” analyst Charles Barkley.

Even though they are good friends, Gretzky said no one should expect him to have the same style or performance as Barkley, who is a huge hockey fan.

“I’ll be honest and direct, but I’m not controversial in any way,” Gretzky said. “And just to be very clear, I’m going to be a lot more positive than negative. It’s just my nature. You can still be critical without going overboard. “

While Gretzky is admittedly more timid than Barkley, what he does bring is the ability to analyze the game from all angles. In addition to a transcendent 20-year career as the NHL’s all-time top scorer, he coached the Coyotes for four seasons and served on the front offices in Phoenix and Edmonton.

Much like he did by bringing the game to new fans when it was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988, Gretzky hopes to continue to expand the scope of the game.

“I think the game is in a better position than it has ever been. The young players participating in the game today are exceptional athletes and they represent the game as it should be, ”he said. “And I’m 60 years old. I don’t need the stress of running a day-to-day hockey team. But it gives me the opportunity to talk about the game and try to take it to another level.

“I think everyone has a responsibility who was a National Hockey League player to try to move the game forward, and if I can help make Turner a positive place to watch, I’m totally in it. ‘agreement. In all seriousness, I wish I could keep playing, but unfortunately that won’t happen.

Gretzky will spend the next two months watching the playoffs before settling as analyst chair. He sees the home ice rink becoming a bigger factor as arenas continue to expand in capacity. There also remains uncertainty as to whether Canada will open the border for the Northern Division champion to travel during the semi-finals and finals, or whether he will have to relocate to the United States.

“It’s hard to predict right now because you kind of have to play one game at a time,” he said. “This has never been truer because of COVID, but I think that’s where we are now.”

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