Wayne’s Statement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Phoenix, Ariz.) — Wayne Gretzky announced today that he is stepping down as Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations of the Phoenix Coyotes Hockey Club, effective immediately.  “This was a difficult decision that I’ve thought long and hard about,” said Gretzky. “We all hoped there would be a resolution earlier this month to the Coyotes ownership situation, but the decision is taking longer than expected.  Since both remaining bidders have made it clear that I don’t fit into their future plans, I approached General Manger Don Maloney and suggested he begin looking for someone to replace me as coach.  Don has worked hard and explored many options.  I think he has made an excellent choice, and so now it’s time for me to step aside.”

“The Coyotes scouting staff has put together a great group of young and talented players who are going to improve tremendously over the next few years,” continued Gretzky.  “I’m proud of the team we’ve assembled, the organization with which I’ve been associated and the thousands of dedicated fans who have never wavered in their support of this young team.  I’m confident that the best is yet to come for hockey in Phoenix.”

“I want to thank every staff member of the Phoenix Coyotes, past and present.  It was a real pleasure to work with each and every one of you.  I’ve always said that Phoenix is a great sports city and deserves nothing but the best.  I still believe that. As a young boy, I learned to play hockey in Southern Ontario, and I know what great fans they have there.  It’s my hope they too will have an NHL franchise in the not too distant future.”

“I often said it was the greatest honor and privilege I could imagine to be able to play in the National Hockey League.  I feel the same way about being an NHL coach.  I’ve loved the four years I spent coaching the Coyotes.  Not a day went by when I took it for granted, and I will miss the competition of the NHL dearly.  It was an honor to hold the position, and I will always consider myself especially fortunate to have had this opportunity.”

Share and Enjoy:
  • email
  • StumbleUpon
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • NewsVine
  • Technorati

Tags: ,

90 Responses to “Wayne’s Statement”

  1. J Klose Says:

    Please come back to the Kings and help us win a Stanley Cup! We love you in LA!!!!

  2. Kyle Says:

    Thanks for everything Wayne! We’ll miss you.

  3. Chris Lewis Says:

    This was inevitable, but I would think your fans in Phoenix deserve at least a press conference rather than you posting it on your website.

  4. deb larsen Says:

    What a mess.

  5. Ron Donaldson Says:

    Wayne,

    You will be missed. You are still the Great One.

  6. Bea Says:

    Wayne,
    Sorry to see you step down. I have enjoyed seeing you behind the bench at the games. This has been a tough summer for us all here in the valley of the sun. I wish you and your family all the best. I didn’t grow up a hockey fan, most girls on farms in southern Ohio didnt, I started watching in Glendale…and now I have ice in my veins, and you were a part of that conversion for me!

  7. cam Says:

    Wayne:
    In watching you coaching I could see that your situation was very stressful
    maybe this was for the best

  8. Cedric Hurth Says:

    Thank, you Wayne! The Coyotes will learn soon how better things were when you were around.
    To this day, I still believe you’re the greatest athlete – not just hockey player – in all of professional sports.

  9. Oscar Madison Says:

    Good on you, Gretz. You were too good for the NHL as it exists at the moment. Hopefully the league will rescue itself from this current malaise and provide you with a future spot in the game you have given so much to. You deserve better. Go home and enjoy your family for a while. The game, as it always does, will come to you when it’s good and ready — and when you’re good and ready, too. The only thing I regret is not seeing you take that motley crew of desert dogs through a deep playoff run. Would have been really something. I’m confident this current mess in the league will get sorted out and strong hockey markets, not contrived hockey markets, will again be the places where the league thrives. It’s the only way. You know that. I know that. Every NHL fan in Canada knows that. Now it’s time for the commissioner and the league’s board of governors to know that — and act on it. And remember: Keep yer head up!

  10. Andrew Says:

    Wayne.

    You are the greatest hockey player of all time. A true ambassador to the game and for Canada. You are an inspiration to anyone that took one step onto any ice surface at any age anywhere.

    You made a difficult decision as coach and an investor in the Coyotes at a difficult time for the organization. You need to stay involved in hockey at any capacity. Owner and/or coach. The players and game need your influence and direction. The decision you made today is what is best for you personally. I hope to see you involved behind the bench of another team.

  11. Mike Z Says:

    I am disappointed to see you leave under the current circumstances. As a season ticket holder, thank you for your time and effort you put into the franchise. The outcome was not what anyone desired for everyone associated with the Coyotes. Your departure is unfortunate and will impact all levels of hoceky in the valley. You are a legend by which all others are measured. My son look’s up to you and are the reasony he began skating lessons, playing youth hockey, mimicking your moves, “setting up in Gretzky’s office,” reading books more often, etc.” We got season tickets when you joined the team and as a result, my son and I will have a lifetime bond as a result of you coming to Phoenix. I only wish we could have met you at one of the training camps, meet and greets, or other public events so you could have signed his “Gretzky’s Game” book and ended us lugging it around ever time we went to anything Coyotes.

  12. gary collins Says:

    The NHL should be ashamed of itself.

    Wayne Gretzky has been an incredible ambassador for hockey and he’s been treated shabbily in this whole Coyote debacle. Anyone else in Wayne’s position would have done the same thing. Without a commitment by any party to support his contractual obligations (which includes compensation), what other choice was there.

    Gary Bettman – this is another legacy that we can attach to your name!

  13. Jeff Blackwood Says:

    About 20 years ago during the Bob Cole Golf Classic in St.John’s Nl you were traded to The kings . Grant Fuhr was in the classic and the media were hunting him relentlessly, I helped hide him in pub to give him a break. Good place to hide. He and I talked about how you were going to change the “face of hockey” in the U.S. As the hockey world knows ,you did ;did you ever. All the best. You’re still the greatest.
    Jeff

  14. Andrew in Hamilton Says:

    Hold on there Wayne. There may be a Commissioner job vacancy coming up soon. You would be the perfect candidate to balance the needs of the fans, players and owners!

  15. Sunny Burns Says:

    Wayne:

    You are the G.O.A.T If the other NHL members carried themselves with the dignity and class you do, the NHL wouldn’t be in the positions it is. You are responsible for the success and growth of this league for the past 25 years however the greed and childish antics of opportunists (NHLPA, Hargrove, Bettman, Sillyballs) threaten to minimize this great game. Recharge and rise above this B.S.let it play out and things will come full circle and we’ll be back to the good ol days when the game mean’t alot more to people than it does now
    I saw you for the first time in Stratford as a member of the Nats and was awestruck and have been ever since.

    Your Fan

    Sunny

    P.S. – Stay away from Lenny Dykstra to ;)

  16. Girish Says:

    Dear Wayne .. You are the True Epitomy of what a gentleman is all about. The situation in Phoenix is not ideal, and you did not deserve the stress that this situation has brought on. You are THE ambassador of hockey, and the sport, as well as it’s growing popularity, would not be where it is without you.

    The NHL, the league teams, the players and the fans owe you a debt of gratitude. They say you cannot keep a good man down for long .. Wayne, you are a good man, and you will find something that will befit a man of your talent, your charm, and your legacy.

    All the Very Best Wayne.

    Regards,

    Girish

  17. Nicole Says:

    We will miss you! I’m a Canadian and apperciated you for that reason so while you are no longer the head coach, you are still a proud Canadian and that is what I am proud of.
    Take care!

  18. Don Reynolds Says:

    I have been a hockey fan my whole life. Thank you for the excitement you have brought to the sport. We will miss you in Phoenix. The white-outs were fun.

  19. Jeff Yablon Says:

    Mr. Gretzky:

    I don’t know how to express my disappointment. While the Coyote’s record under your coaching hand has been poor, your association with the club can only have helped (I shudder to think what things might look like now had you NOT been there).

    The move from point A to point B can only be harder for them now . . .

    Jeff Yablon
    President & CEO
    Answer Guy and Virtual VIP Business Change Managememt, Business Coaching and Virtual Assistant Services

  20. Mr. Champ Champagne Says:

    Sorry to see you go Wayne, It was because of you I started watching the Coyotes, and they fast became my favorite team. I started watching NHL Hockey because of you.. Imagine the ribbing I got from all my friends, as I live in Ottawa Canada, watching the Coyotes ! I guess I will have to wait and see where you go next wayne, Best of luck to you, and THANK YOU for the memories.

  21. Shawn Chaulk Says:

    You will be missed by the fans Wayne…..I wish you every success in “whatever” is next for you. Someone already said it….but the Commissioners chair is looking good. God knows the little weasel who occupies it now shouldn’t be in it any longer! Best Wishes!

  22. Peter Jones Says:

    Wayne all the best from your hometown Brantford. You and your family are truly the best. What you and your father, my friend Walter have shown many is how to treat people with respect which is something the Commisioner has not shown to you. I look forward to following your next adventure, hopefully as the New Commisioner of Hockey. Then and only then will Hockey start to once again become the greatest game on earth.
    Thanks for your contribution up to now and I know the best is yet to come.

  23. Glenn Says:

    thank you for everything you have brought to my beloved phoenix coyotes, i will truly miss the thrill i got at every game when your name was announced and i saw you standing by the bench

  24. Lennie Says:

    Hey Wayne, I lived out west and followed you in Edmonton. I moved to L.A. a month after you were traded and tried to explain the game of hockey to other fans as I watched you at the Forum. You are too big a man to be involved in the disaster that is going on in Phoenix right now, and once Bettman loses this battle, and loses his cushy position, you would look great as the Commish. Best of luck in the future, I know you will succeed at whatever your next chapter brings.

  25. Doug Says:

    We could use a new forward…some fresh legs. I read an article where some two bit sports writer who can skate backwards stated “The King has fallen”…..He hasn’t fallen, just waiting for his new Kingdom. Thank You for all those saturday Nights on taht crappy old TV, Worth every second.

  26. V Singh Says:

    Wayne, I think your next calling in life is quite obvious. Let’s get Gary Bettman out of the commissioner’s office and welcome our next new NHL commissioner, Mr. Wayne Gretzky!

  27. joanne Says:

    my vote is for wayne- new commissioner of the NHL

  28. Chris Mowry Says:

    Wayne,

    Most remarkable to me and beyond your achievements as the greatest hockey player ever, is your model conduct as a human being. Even in the callous business world of professional sports and unscrupulous lawyers, you find a way to act with class and dignity. Although no one would blame you for an outburst over unfair and slanted criticisms, it’s never happens.

    While we’ll miss seeing you and hope for your return to the NHL soon, we hope you take heart that you have many Canadian fans, knowledgeable about the game and the business of hockey, that are more impressed with you and the way you do things than ever before.

    “Be like 99″ means more off the ice even than on. Who could have ever imagined that?

    Great move and best wishes.

  29. charlie Says:

    YES! sorry, but umm OIL COUNTRY is where you belong!!!

  30. Jinder Says:

    Great move all the best.

  31. EDMONTON GRETZ FAN Says:

    Wayne, thanks for all your memories………not just through your NHL years, but as a person!
    Edmonton wishes you nothing but success in the future to come, Im not sure the people in Phoenix, understand the contribution you have given to there hockey club, and to there city!
    I thank you for them……..i look forward to having you back in the game, in the very near future! you are still a very respected human being, as well as a wealth of hockey knowledge! you are my 7 year old Novice hockey players idol!

  32. nancy Says:

    Hi Wayne,
    Only the best wishes for your future plans. You ARE the Great One- and will always be so in my book. I hope that you will be able to continue in whatever capacity that works best for you in the not too distant future. Sports and hockey in particular NEED your presence so please don’t stay away for long!!!!
    Best of luck Wayne. I know this has been a REAL tough time and decision for you to have to make.

  33. Jamieson Says:

    We love you, Wayne. We’re all behind you!

  34. GABE Says:

    SORRY TO SEE YA GO WAYNE. TEAM SHOULD HAVE DONE MORE TO MOVE TO SCOTTSDALE RATHER THEN GLENDALE. I THINK THINGS WOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH BETTER. GLAD I GOT TO MEET YOU AND GLAD I WAS ABLE TO GET AN OCTOPUS ON THE ICE. HOPE THE TEAM CAN SURVIVE IN AZ.

  35. Ken Eller Says:

    Wayne Gretzky – everything that you have ever accomplished has been associated with success , your head held high. The current situation is no different. A difficult decision for sure, but rest assured that your fans in Ontario that have seen you develop from a kid in minor hockey, appreciate your endeavors. We look foward to your future involvement in the game. Best to you and your family….Ken Eller, Fonthill, Ontario (near Highway #8, Beamsville)

  36. Paul Says:

    Wayne is a claas act, and he had no other choice but to walk away for now. I hope your dad’s basement is still dry, shameless plug for Drybasenet, my son still uses the sticks he gave him probably the only kid playing AAA with wooden sticks..ha ha…It was a true pleasure to meet your dad Walter and your brother Glen and sister Kim…. All the best, you deserve another coaching job, because I can see the passion that you bring to the game. Your dad gave my son some Coyote apparrel but he still is a die hard Leaf fan…

  37. Wayne Stevens Says:

    Its odd that when your career began I blew you off as overrated. Just being a foolish boy wanting to be different but your heart and love for the game and the never quit creed you played by won me over. When you took on the job coaching I thought what kind of coach will you be, are you going to look foolish tring to jump right into a NHL job but you grew into the job sadly tho the NHL has failed to grow with you. It is dissheartening that you have to stop coaching and I hope someday with new leadership in the NHL head office you will return. It would be refreshing if down the road when your ready you took up the challenge of leadership at the NHL level giving Hockey a face not a dictator with an agenda tho I live in Hamilton and would love to see a team here I does not need to be your team I beleave if the NHL had put half the effort they are in this legal battle to save face into making Hockey work in the cities they are in we would not be wishing you farewell. Good luck to you and your family and thankyou for giving so much to the game and community

  38. Darren Kranz Says:

    Dear Wayne, I hope that you read these posts.

    You don’t owe anything to anyone except for a very small circle – your family. What else can you accomplish in hockey????

    Look at your wife and kids. No travel. No Press or marketing commitments. Vast wealth. Just you + time + your family – to be there to support your son at his moment as your Dad was there for you as well as the rest of your children. Hockey continues forever! Your window of time with your children closes by the day. Its a window that can never be re-opened. Please take it, love it and live it! You know and we ALL know you can come back to hockey when ever and where ever you want to and NO ONE can say @#$% about about man who wants to make his focus on his family!

  39. Jay Winter Says:

    Mr. Gretzky- I’ve been a long time fan of yours, and as a St Louis Blues fan I do remember your brief time with the Blues with great happiness. I was hopeful that things would work out better than they did in Phoenix. I just wanted to take a moment to wish you and your family the best as you go forward from here.

    I hope the situation gets resolved quickly in Phoenix.

  40. Dixie Marchuk Says:

    Wondered how long before this would happen, to bad but maybe it will push league to greater things, although that can’t happen untill we get hockey back to places it is truely loved, and get rid of Betman, somebody please. I am 63 year old Canadian woman, and have watched the powers that be since he took over destroy this great game.

  41. Jeff Johnson Says:

    Wayne, you’ve always been a class act and that hasn’t changed. I’m sorry that things have come to this. If reports are true that you’re done with the NHL, I hope it doesn’t mean you’re done with hockey. That would be a great loss to the game we love. But you don’t owe the game anything, the game and all who love it owe you. I wish you the best in whatever you future brings and thank you for all the wonderful memories.

  42. Brian Says:

    Wayne if you do read these I just want to thank you for all you have done for my Coyotes. I remeber back at America West you gave me a stick and signed it for me when I was about 14. I will always remember that moment and will never get rid of that sick. I feel bad that you have been put in this position and I wish you the best of luck with whatever you do next. LETS GO COYOTES

  43. Steve Hobbs Says:

    Nothing but class.

    It’s disappointing that it has come to this, but, in typical Gretzky fashion he makes the right decision. at the right time. for the reasons.

    The NHL, under Bettman continues to be the Frankenstein experiment that always fails. This league is meant for the best of the best whether it be players or coaches and unfortunately because of Bettman’s inability to deal with the Phoenix issue a couple of years ago we the game has lost the “Great One” once again.

    I have never seen a commissioner (Bettman) bring down the value of a league so often and yet keep his job. Are the owners blind to how he has depreciated the league and virtually affected their investment.

    As they say as one door closes, another one opens and in this case Gretzky’s decision to resign opens the door to becoming commissioner, as I think Gary’s inability to look after one of the greatest games in the world has been exposed and its time to show him the door.

    Gretz for Comish!

  44. Bruno Cristini Says:

    Wayne, you have been on stage now with all of us looking in for a very long time. Maybe too long but we thank you for being such an incredible example of hard work, and good sportsmanship. Now it may be time for you to be a full time fan to others mainly your family. You have done enough Wayne and you may now sit back and stand proud of what I think is your greatest accomplishment ever, nope nothing to do with hockey……….your family!! Enjoy!

  45. Rhonda Says:

    Canadians will always believe in you…staying in the U.S..for family is admirable, but it would be nice to see you coach a team, that actually loves the sport as much as you do!!!

    Failure, never, fallen…maybe a stumble…sad, yes, because you tried…but that is football and baseball territory!

    Stay true to you and know you are still, in the minds of most…THE GREAT ONE..in heart, spirit and pride!

  46. Susan Says:

    A Class Act in every way! Commissioner Wayne Gretzky ~ I love it! Who better than the Great One to lead the League!

  47. B.J. Krol Says:

    Mr. Gretzky,

    As a long time fan from far away (Netherlands) i’m sorry to hear another chapter in your great career is over al so sudden.
    Hope you land on your feet and do something else in the great game of hockey.
    Best of luck anyway!!

  48. Ed Circusitch Says:

    I want to see a new 2 player league of just Wayne and Mario.

  49. BigP Says:

    “This was inevitable, but I would think your fans in Phoenix deserve at least a press conference rather than you posting it on your website.”

    What fans?

    This was not fair to Gretzky or anyone. U can’t succeed in market like Phoenix. What worries me is Gretz may quit hockey all together…..yep bye bye to NHL. And Gary ‘Napoleon’ Bettman has no one to blame but himself

  50. Rahim R Says:

    I’ve been a fan of yours since I met you in North Colliseum in 1983. You embody all that is great about hockey and to hear of your departure resonates with every hockey fan around the world. Your poise, manner and handling of this situation has been nothing short of exemplary and you should have no regrets. It is my hope that you will return to the NHL in some capacity in the future.

    I wish you the very best in your future endeavors!

  51. The Atheist Missionary Says:

    Mr. Gretzky, you are to be commended for walking the high road. The manner in which the NHL treated you is despicable. You deserve everything you have earned. They deserve everything they are going to get. What comes around goes around.

  52. Pete Says:

    Thank you Mr. Wayne Gretzky for your immeasurable contributions to the game over the past years and decades. You have enriched hockey all over the US and Canada.

    You will be missed and I share your hope of a team in Southern ON. Hopefully one day the NHL will once again realize where the roots of Ice Hockey grow…

  53. CJD Says:

    Wayne… you are and always will be the GREATEST thing to happen to the game of Hockey. You have been the best ambassador for the NHL, and your home and native land.

    What a disgusting shame that Gary Bettman has so tarnished this incredible game of hockey. As a life long hockey loving/playing resident of Hamilton Ontario, who doesnt care if a team comes here through expansion or relocation, I am appalled. Thanks NHL, Thanks Gary Bettman, Thanks BOG… your greed and corruption has ruined this sport. Thankfully I have the Hamilton Bulldogs to support. RIP NHL, as a league you deserve to fail!

  54. Brad P. Says:

    Thanks for all the memories Wayne, You are a class act all the way. I still remember playing Midget Hockey in Edmonton, the first year you were with the Oilers you came into our dressing room and signed all of our hockey sticks.

    Please come back for a visit any time, you and your family are always welcome in Edmonton.

  55. BJC Says:

    Wayne, I’ve been a fan since I first saw you play hockey in a Brockville Atom Hockey tournament when you were only 9 years old and had the pleasure to meet you briefly back then….you have done so much for the game of hockey globally and you deserve far more respect than what’ve received from the NHL, Owners and NHLPA. I love the game but don’t like the direction its going….the game needs you more than you need the game….I can only hope that one day we will be referring to you as Commissoner Gretzky (instead of Bettman)…..and you can bring credibility back to the league.

  56. Brad Says:

    As always Mr. Gretzky, despite all the adversity of this current situation, you again show the class and poise that has defined your career. You are, and will continue to be, the greatest ambassador the this great sport. Your contributions will not be forgotten, and I am sure there will be many many more in the years to come. May God bless you and your family.

  57. Mat in Oil Town Says:

    Wayne,

    I grew up loving you and followed you everywhere you go. My dad was my biggest influence and we spend many a nite watching your magic, both on and off the ice. May you have success wherever your travels take you go. You are and will always be remembered as “The Great One” and nobody will ever take that away from you! All the best!

    Mat Matthews (Edmonton, Alberta)

  58. Hans Geenen Says:

    Wayne , I had the priviledge of interviewing you three times when you were with the Sault Greyhounds when I was a sports announcer. Even at that tender young age you were a class act .
    Muzz( Mcpherson) had you pegged from the beginning and always insisted you would be one of the great ones. He was so right.
    You’ve done it all Wayne and at the same time been the greatest ambassador hockey has ever seen.
    Cherry could learn a few lessons from you…( but he never will)…All your fans in the Sault I’m sure wish you well in whatever you do.
    All the best !!!!

  59. Global Sailor Says:

    Wayne,

    A story; 3 weeks ago my 4yr old son woke me up at 6 AM and said “Dad, I want to play Hockey”

    I know nothing about the game as we’re immigrants, so I said “OK” and took him to the local rink. A coach there fitted him out with gear and while putting on his jersey made the comment

    “You’re so small, we’ll just tuck in your jersey like Wayne Gretzky”
    “Who is Wayne Gretzky?” asked my son
    “You don’t know who Wayne Gretzky is?”
    “No” and he thought about it a second and then asked “Can he skate?”
    The coach chuckled and said “Yeh, he can skate”
    “Then I want to be like him” he said
    We then carried my son to the sheet of ice as he couldn’t walk with the skates, opened the door and he skated off like he was born to it. It was surreal. This news that you are taking a break from coaching makes it even more so.

    Just your name has become an inspiration, because millions of people love you.

    Goodluck

  60. CanadianExpat Says:

    Wayne,

    You and I are roughly the same age. I grew up seeing you play, coach and turn the NHL franchise into what it has become today. Hockey organizations around the world have a debt to you that cannot be repaid but let me try to give back a little…

    My kids know you as the father of modern hockey. We have watched old footage and I have shared stories from my days watching you play. They love the game and aspire to be like the “Great One.” As long as my generation (and particularly Canadians) passes on these stories and experiences to our kids you will continue to transcend the NHL. Best of luck in anything and everything you decide to do going forward. Cheers!

  61. John Kretzschmar Says:

    Job well done on a graceful exit under what must be very trying circumstances, Wayne. Your admirable sense of timing has always served you well: On the ice, when to move on to a new team, when to retire, and now, when to exit gracefully. First class all the way.

    Best of luck with your future endeavours, at and away from the rink!

  62. deck Says:

    Gretzky.

    Life and the NHL hasn’t always been kind to you. But you always took it with Dignity.
    You always managed to stay classy and find time for the fans. (I got 6 autographs and a photo handshake to prove it) You were an awesome player, and an inspiring competitor. But you will forever be a world class role model.

    The NHL needs you.
    You’ll be back.

  63. johnny(big canadian coyote) Says:

    I seen a news clip the other night suggesting that NHL hockey and Wayne Gretzky have gone full circle in the sun belt,I hope not I keep hoping that the desert dogs will be staying put ,are there not enough cities to put NHL teams and enough talented young people ,such as yourself to man these teams?I know…its all about the benjamins!

  64. johnny(big canadian coyote) Says:

    THANK-YOU WAYNE GRETZKY!

  65. RJ Says:

    Wayne,

    Your legacy as TGO will never be tarnished even with this debacle, but as you know we are all accountable no matter who we are; that is the real world. Phoenix treated you as well as anybody could be treated, but you failed as a coach, not to mention some of the other off ice decisions that were made. It went from bad to worse, and now it is time to move on. You will be better off, and so will the Coyotes with this change. I know sugar coating this is not your style. so I’m not going to go there. You would be a valuable asset to this league in a more suitable position. I wish you the best in whatever capacity you end up in the future. I agree with the earlier post; you didn’t do yourself any justice by posting this here and not giving the fans in Phoenix a personal goodbye. It really looked bad, and I don’t think that is what you wanted. Sometimes we all need to humble ourselves a little.

    Best of luck,

    RJ

  66. YukonSloMo Says:

    I often contribute on McCown’s website….but I was unaware that you had a one also. I was watching Prime Time Sports yesterday, as I often do and this site was mentioned, so here I am. I am not here to applaud nor criticize the decision you made. We all have different roads to cross in our careers. I do believe the Sir Jim plight with the NHL has marred the game. So has the recent events with the PA and the Kelly firing. This is a league that for sometime has been in crisis and needs an identity. Gary Bettman suffers from Napoloenic complex. He has never done anything to grow the game and let us remember he was the second pick from the NBA when the NHL came knocking. He just happened upon the scene at a time when you were in your prime, and Mess was also. All he had to do was hold on to your coat tails and ride. I wonder when he sits in his war room and decides to call the BOD if he uses a Blackberry? The PA soap opera really puzzles alot of insiders including the League, former players and agents. Who fires someone at 3:00 am? The ripples in the pond are still apparent. Lastly, I do not think the NHL handled either the Coyotes fiasco nor your resignation well. In fact I do not believe they truly know what they are doing…The image of the NHL will forever be associated with these two events for some time. My personal view is to accept Gary’s resignation and begin the search for a new NHL boss that hopefully has a hockey background and not basketball…Signed: Sad in Whitehorse

  67. Kathy Kinstler Says:

    Wayne, I’m sure everyone will miss you. After being such a great player, I’m sure it’s hard to be a coach. You want the players to play as well as you did or even better. But face it, they aren’t and they won’t be. Enfoy the time you can spend with Janet and the kids–they deserve it. I’m a hockey fan since the late ’40′s. You’ll find your place in hockey. Just wait.

  68. Dave Beattie Says:

    The class of the NHL will dearly be missed. After watching Wayne play when he was 13 years old, left no doubt in my mind that he would someday be a star in the NHL. After moving to Edmonton in 1980, the Oilers lead by the likes of Gretzky, Messier, Anderson etc. sure made the long, cold winters bearable. And when Wayne was traded to the L.A. Kings, the heart and soul of Edmonton took a few steps back. ANd being in Phoenix when it was announced that Wayne has stepped down as coach, sure brought back all those said memories when he left Edmonton. Wayne, you have been the class of the NHL for many years, and I dearly hope that you do not dissapear, and show some sort of leadership role in any way the NHL brings forward to yourself. You will be missed….

  69. Robby Suter Says:

    Wayne,

    I am a 30 year old Musician from Edmonton. As a Child growing up in Edmonton, and playing Hockey, I wanted nothing more then to see you play. Our family did not always have the money to attend a NHL Hockey Game, but in 1988 My Father took me to see your second game back to Northlands Collisium as a L.A. King. I can remember looking through the glass at you as you skated on to the ice for warmup. You were larger then life, and you still are. The NHL needs you, and I pray that you will once again be involved in the NHL.

    We love you in Edmonton / Phoenix and abroad

    Robby Suter

  70. Derrick Says:

    Hey Wayne don’t leave the NHL then they win just come back where you belong EDMONTON and buy the oilers and start having some fun again

  71. Barb Says:

    I was introduced to hockey during the inaugural season of 1996 & have been a Coyotes fan ever since.
    I am grateful to Shane Doan for his ongoing efforts as the foundation of the team for over a decade. I realize
    that Wayne Gretzky is the Great One & that is a huge accomplishment!! I have to admit that I felt your stress as I watched you on the bench as a coach – it looked so painful.
    A great player may not possess all the traits necessary to be a great COACH & there is nothing wrong with that. Thank you for your contributions to hockey & to the Coyotes! Now let’s shoot for the playoffs & prove those nay-sayers wrong…go Yotes! HOWWWLLLL!!!!

  72. Las Vegas Coyote Says:

    Wayne – I feel as bad today as that terrible day so long ago when you left Edmonton. I thought the Oilers would always be my ONLY hometown team but after moving to Las Vegas my husband and I adopted the Coyotes as our hometown team. We happily made the 5 hour trek to Glendale every weekend you had a home game. Seeing you behind the bench made me feel like I was home again in the Oilers heyday. Your resignation has taken the wind out of the sails of the season opener!

    THE GREAT ONE WILL BE GREATLY MISSED!!!

  73. Cassy Brouse Says:

    Wayne, you are still my idol at 31 yrs of age!!!! You are the epitome of class, dignity, sportsmanship and kindness. As a teacher, I tell my children to look up to people like you! The NHL will miss you and I pray you find your way in another role. You’re a wonderful coach, player and most importantly – person and father. God bless you!

    #99 forever… (can you say – Future Commish??)

  74. cf Says:

    Wayne, Gary Betman and Jim Balsilie have made a mess of this whole situation… The NHL continues to become the worst run sports organization in North America… We all know this is about money… The RIM CEO see’s a chance to get a deal on an NHL team and steal the fans who are fed up with the Leafs who take, take, take and never give back… BATMAN is so busy trying to make hockey work in the sunbelt he forgot he has a league to run.
    The truth is the interest in hockey is shrinking in Canada, immigration is hurting our sport. The lack of focus by the NHL in Canada is not helping. Nothing would have turned this around more than to have the greatest player to ever play the game come home… just down the road from where it all started in his backyard… This was the greatest PR move the league and Jim could have made… The NHL should have paid the Leafs and the Sabers to shut up!
    Gary better wake up and start paying attention to the future of the game where it is most important, here at home… the funny thing is the effects of this will not be felt till the kids of the immigrants grow up and stop going to hockey 20 years from now… by then it will be to late to fix… Thanks to Gary… Wayne maybe you should run the league!!!!!!! 99 for Prez…

    Good Luck Wayne.

  75. Bill Says:

    I am most disappointed that the NHL has chosen to “release” the Great One the way they did. Wayne has worked harder than anyone is trying to establish the NHL in the USA and has done an excellent job of doing so. In his typical classy way Wayne has chosen not to throw stones at the NHL and for that I am proud he took the high road and maintained his class. I cannot say the same for the League and or its President. Not only do all hockey fans suffer an intignity but we are supposed to sit back and be led like sheep to supporting their descision. I will not. I grew up with hockey and it part of my psyche, just like the Great One! The League and its owners have no comprehension nor do they understand this psyche because if they did, they would not allow their President to stomp all over the career of an individual who made the League and its owners a lot of money. I will not support those who choose to champion the NHL as the greatest game in the world. There are many ways for me and others to do this however, I will not dwell on those here as this is my testament to the greatest player to ever lace up a pair of skates….unlike many spoiled and wealthy athletes the Great One has had his say and as usual, it’s first class all the way. Good Luck to the Great One and a pox on the NHL and in particular its President.

  76. Lori In Saskatoon Says:

    Hi Wayne,

    I have followed your career since I was a little girl growing up in small town Saskatchewan. I was really sad when you retired, and when you became coach of the Coyotes I got excited about hockey again. I loved watching Phoenix play, because I would catch the odd glimpse of you behind the bench. You are my hero. You are the greatest hockey player that ever lived, but what sets you apart from everyone else is the way in which you carry yourself with class and dignity. You are a great ambassador for the sport of hockey and I really hope you will continue to be a big part of the game, in whatever capacity suits you best (commissioner *wink wink, nudge nudge*) Thank-you so much for all you have brought to the game!

    Lori

  77. tom Says:

    Wayne, You should buy the remaining Phoenix Coyote Tickets for the home opener. Donate them to charity or whatever. Make the game sold out and let’s all of your fans in Arizona know that you are not all about the money!

  78. Fred the Head Says:

    Sorry Wayne but you shafted millions of hockey fans in Canada when you did not come out in support of Balsillie’s plan on buying the Coyotes and moving them to Hamilton, Ontario. Had you come out in support of this plan, you would have swayed enough owners to have put this plan into action. Canada would have a 7th team, Hamilton (your backyard) would have a NHL team and you would have cemented the respect of all Canadians for your support of such. Instead you chose to remain silent, ignored the desires of hockey fans throughout Canada and you did not stand up to that twit Buttman who is screwing up pro hockey in North America.

    Good luck with your future endeavours Wayne but the decisions that you made vis-a-vis the Coyotes made you no friends and a lot of disappointed former fans.

  79. Mike Says:

    I’m curious now that Wayne is no longer director of hockey operations or head coach are you still involved as alternate govenor?

  80. Carl Says:

    Wayne – I thank you for all that you brought to the Coyotes. I loved watching every game you coached, win or lose, because you had the team playing fast and hard. The young guys got to learn from the best. Unfortunately you probably won’t get enough credit for the team’s success this year although you are the one that put the foundation together. I am confident that we WILL move to greater success this year as our young team matures and I wish you were here to reap the rewards with us.

    Thanks again. You will be missed!

  81. geo mckay Says:

    dear mr gretzky,
    greetings i am fan of hockey at all levels. i am also a aboriginal artist who has just became a teacher of aboriginal fine art of carving. i prefer teaching children ,simply because they are teachable,they learn faster and with the right amount of guidance they can mount to something. i would like to leave a suggestion, let the the older hockey world do what it does. “focus on the next generations of hockey players” maybe you’ll create the next great one,who knows. i think thats where the real statements are made,at the starting gates ,not near the finishing gates. i think alot of future superstars are waiting for the the right coach to guide them.

  82. Ed Says:

    The NHL should really take a look at what they have done. Wayne Gretzky is the only reason hockey is what it is today. They just had the greatest player of the game and a damn good coach step away from the sport he has created.

    To Gary Betman: – AND I QUOTE!!
    “We do not abandon our NHL cities because of finanical problems, we fix the problem” – I HAVE IT ON MY DVR IF YOU WANT ME TO REPLAY IT FOR YOU!

    Your such a fake – Wayne Gretzky has made the sport what is it today and this is how you let him get treated by the owners of the team? – Mr. Gretzky is the ambassador of hockey. If it was not for him it would not be as big as it is now – yes, your paycheck pal!

    I have followed Gretzky for over 17 years now and I started watching PHX when he started coaching, just because I loved him as a player and i knew what he was able to do. Bought tickets to their games(and i live in Atlanta), shirts, hats, etc. I have thrown them away because what is the point now?

    Gretzky is gone and we all only have the NHL to blame. Who are you going to push away next?

    Mr. Gertzky – I hope you return in some fashion. I say you buy a team and run it your way, the only way. Make sure you give the PHX owners a big fat finger when you see them. Best of luck to you on whatever you decide to persue in the future; for you and your entire family. Best of luck.

    You will be greatly missed by fans and players.

    Ed

  83. Ron Ramirez Says:

    There are three GREAT names in sports, J. Robinson, M. Ali and “99″ THE GREAT GRETZKY ! Thanks for the memories. Good luck in whatever you do. Ron R.

  84. MikeR from Langley BC Says:

    Hey Wayne.. A few days ago I found myself pulling out your autobiography “Gretsky” and reading from page 88 to my son who is playing PeeWee rep.. You wrote about not being the most fit, nor the fastest, the toughest, but you were smart and dedicated.. You wrote about what your father taught you.. Believe it or not, it totally resonated with my 11 year old and his buddies.. He’s using the net and the boards as the 7th and 8th players!! You’re up there in my books as a true inspiration – like other Mondo Canucks (Terry Fox, John Candy, The Hip, Mike J Fox, Stompin Tom.. oh and Alan Thicke too because we’re from the same Northern Ont town…haha).. Thanks a lot Wayne for ALWAYS being a number 1 role model and one heck of a classy dude!!

  85. Tom from Port Elgin, Ont Says:

    You will be missed by all, enjoy your time off with your family. When the time is right, you will be back in this sport. You are the Great One!

  86. Justin in Redondo via Traverse City Says:

    Mr. Gretzky,

    Please…. PLEASE put the skates back on. I humbly submit(suggest) that you are still physically cabaple of playing the game at a high level. As a fan of the sport, I realize it is a vanity for me to implore you to return to the ice as a player. However, the facts are such.

    1) The league has garbage exposure.

    Okay well.. that’s it.

    The NHL is better than ever(sorta), but it’s not on TV in the states.

  87. Bob Says:

    y r u stepping down???? plz stay as the coach of the Cyotes. plz plz plz!!!!!! u r my inspiration!!!!! and ur an amazing coach. PLZ STAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  88. nick Says:

    Come back to Canada and coach a canadian team, you will win the cup.

    I know this

  89. Josh from michigan Says:

    Wayne there is no doubt you were the great one, but you were not a very good fit as a coach with 4 straight loosing years.Dave tippett has lead the yotes to 5th place in there conference.I think your tenure as a coach has actually hurt your reputation a little you may not care or agree but its strange that the year after you leave the team starts to win.Im not trying to give you a hard time wayne but the team is definately doing better since you have left and you are better off playing golf and not being a coach in the nhl.

  90. Red Light » Posts Behind Gretzky’s NHL estrangement « Says:

    [...] stayed away from the team after training camp opened and eventually resigned, saying in a statement on his website: “Since both remaining bidders have made it clear that I don’t fit into their future plans, [...]

Leave a Reply