Trying to understand Wayne Gretzky

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It was metaphoric as Wayne Gretzky picked up the game puck off the ice in the final game to be played in the Winnipeg Jets arena…..he got the last puck alright….and later, he decided to hand it over, as it was time to do the right thing….

Well Wayne, like that last game puck in Winnipeg, holding off on your position with the team that was the Jets, the hockey team in Glendale, is getting stale. It’s time to make the right decision yet again. It’s  time to answer to the reasoning you are okay with Jerry Moyes’ struggles, and your own motives….it’s time to address Canadians too, and let us know your true position.


Okay, I’m finally ‘going there’! Where no man has gone before (at least too often). I am going to question the greatest player that has ever laced on the skates. A Canadian, with roots in Brantford. A Canadian, with a winery in Niagara. Wayne Gretzky has plenty of reasons to welcome an opportunity to support a team in his hometown, but chooses not to….so what’s up? 

I have had my theories. Oh yes, there are several ideas and possibilities that have crossed my mind now and again as the saga in the desert plays out.

Wayne Gretzky: Time to come clean on this one

Wayne Gretzky: Time to come clean on this one

This isn’t easy….I have been holding off and holding off for a long time as we all start to question where Wayne Gretzky has been.

Now we have the team on ice, with a substitute coach. Eyes are starting to wander again. Where is Wayne?

I don’t know Wayne Gretzky, but we share the same era. We were both born in 1961, within a month or so of each other. I was a hockey hack, and he just happened to be the best player that ever lived.

I am the same age and in that regard Wayne Gretzky’s peer. We are fellow middle-agers. We have responsibility to the world, and to the people around us. I understand he has his family in Los Angeles. But hockey is a travelling game, so that reasoning pales to something that quenches a desire for truth. As a hockey player or coach based out of Arizona, you are on the road (a lot) during the hockey season. And, something tells me he can also afford to get back to Los Angeles anytime he has free time. So, as an excuse, it is not very substantial.

So, it’s time to question a man from my own generation. We both know what hockey meant to us road hockey warriors after school. Hockey was everywhere. Hockey really meant something then.

Wayne’s favorite player was #9, Gordie Howe. Mine, Davey Keon of the Leafs. A close second was Ronny Ellis.

Many of my questions may be shared by other men  of our era, as we have seen hockey go from a game of passion, to a game that they want to play in 105 degree heat. What on earth happened?  Where has the Canadian pride gone? We need leadership and support.

Bobby Orr has been one of the few to stand up and be noticed. Where are the other Canadian hockey legends to stand toe to toe with the rest of us, and make a point? I certainly don’t think kids in Phoenix don’t deserve professional hockey. The AHL would fit nicely. But, to keep the NHL from the true north, strong and free so the south can have it is nutty.

And, why is the greatest Canadian player of all time not supporting our cause? We need to try to figure out where Gretzky is coming from.

So, let’s go back a stretch, and see what we have here.

Let’s go to the Nick Kypreos interview that he did with Gretzky on Sportsnet.

I had published the video because it let you do it. The site even asked what blogging service you used….here, we’ll put it there for you, no problem.

Only problem is, what happened to that interview?

It’s gone folks. Don’t try to find it. Oh, you will find many others, but Kypreos interviewing Gretzky? Good luck!

And why is it gone? That may be the bigger question.

A visibly aggitated Wayne Gretzky answered questions in an uneasy manner.

Some of his comments included:

  • he believed hockey could work in Glendale. Of course it was not Canada, but in it’s own way and to it’s own degree, he believed it could work.
  • he commented that Jerry Moyes had ‘taken his own direction’ on this (obviously not Gretzky’s direction)
  • Canadians are passionate about hockey

Okay, that is what he believed. It certainly seemed Jerry Moyes seeking chapter 11 had an impact on Wayne Gretzky, and might open up some uncomfortable issues. Perhaps though, these were justified. It might also explain Gretzky’s siding with the NHL, and any offers to keep the team in Glendale, despite what might seem a great appeal of hometown Ontario.

And, as reported in the Wall Street Journal:

That sentiment would appear to place Gretzky on the side of the NHL, which wants to keep the team in Arizona.


But, doesn’t it seem a little strange that we have Wayne Gretzky now siding with the Ice Edge group?

What does this mean?

It means his business partner, Jerry Moyes would stand to lose $100 million if Gretzky and Ice Edge get to buy the team from the NHL (if succesful), and Jerry Moyes would lose his $100 million.

That certainly would be taking a “different direction” from Jerry Moyes, Mr. Gretzky, I would have to agree with you there.

 Is it then okay in Gretzky’s position that his business partner loses that huge amount of money? Ouch! (especially since Gretzky continues to get paid his salary (almost $22,000 per day!) despite not being there for the team).

Now, let’s take a closer look at the NHL’s plans if they are succesful.

Has anybody other than myself wondered why the City of Glendale and the NHL think they can negotiate a favourable deal with Glendale out of bankruptcy court?

The question is, what is so different out of bankruptcy court, than in court?

Good question. Deserves a little look.

Are they inferring they can sneak one by the Goldwater Group because they will not notice the deal? Probably not. I don’t think they think the Goldwater Group would be that silly as to overlook that.

Remember, Ice Edge was out because they too, along with Reinsdorf, could not work a deal with the city:

Daryl Jones, one of the partners with Ice Edge, said his group could enter the fray again if the NHL wins the auction and follows through on its plan to sell the club.

“We couldn’t get there with the City of Glendale,” Jones wrote in a text message to the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. “We are still on the ice, but probably post-bankruptcy now.”

 Excuse me? “Post-bankruptcy”?

Doesn’t that sound a little presumptuous and strange?

What could be so different post-bankruptcy? Put another way, what cannot be changed in bankruptcy?

Could it be a bond for an arena that the terms of payment cannot be altered in bankruptcy?

Could the same bond be altered by the bondholder outside of bankruptcy, to be a better deal to the city of Glendale?

And, that lends itself to the question that I am surprised that with freedom of information from the press, that we could not have that information by now.

The NHL says it would welcome Wayne Gretzky back to the coaching position but at a reduced rate. The Ice Edge Group, same thing.

Is Wayne Gretzky somehow linked to an opportunity to keep the team in Glendale, satisfying the Goldwater Group, and others? If so, what power does Wayne Gretzky have in this position?

There still remains the “everybody knows something we don’t” feel to this. If they could only get the team to the not so legal side of the courtroom.

Those parties would include:

  • the NHL,
  • SOF Investments,
  • the City of Glendale
  • Ice Edge
  • possibly the Reinsdorf family
  • and it would seem Wayne Gretzky

As you can guess, I am skirting around an issue here and not making a direct point. To date, there is no concrete proof, just a whole lot of circumstance to piece together.

We really need to know who holds those arena bonds, now don’t we?

Once again, would this come close to explaining why Gretzky would want to keep a low profile?

And, if a deal can be worked outside of bankruptcy court to which Wayne Gretzky could benefit from, why couldn’t this deal have been there for Jerry Moyes?

After all, Jerry Moyes will stand to lose $100 million. Is this okay with Wayne Gretzky?

This might explain why a certain interview on Sportsnet never made it to the video archives. Might also explain a very aggitated Wayne Gretzky in that interview. Is he holding onto that puck, so to speak? A little uneasy with a tough situation?

Perhaps if he was put in that position innocently, we could all understand. I know I would. But, we all need to hear from Wayne at this point. I think we would all feel a lot better.

I think Mr. Gretzky has to hand over some information on this to hockey fans everywhere. And, more importantly to Jerry Moyes, his soon to be ex-partner.

Yes, Wayne, like that puck in Winnipeg, the metaphor has come full circle.

It’s once again time to get something off your chest, and out there for us to see.

As your peer in a generation growing up with integrity in hockey, it’s time to accept responsibility for who you are, and what you represent. And in that capacity, your transparency is mandatory.

And the fact that everybody (and I do mean everybody) is okay with Jerry Moyes not coming out with a piece of his losses stinks! That would include Wayne Gretzky’s position.

We all have to deal with tough issues in life. We all make mistakes. And,we can all be forgiven.

But first, we must face the truth.




2 responses to “Trying to understand Wayne Gretzky

  1. Wow, you’ve been busy this weekend, Beni-O. That’s alot of muckraking! Excellent researching, I’ll let you know if I can find the vid in a cache somewhere. I’m printing out the previous 3 articles for some catch-up reading.

    As for Wayne, it sure is a shame he’s been a no-show this last week. Even if he is somehow barred from the bench(and getting paid?), there have been plenty of seats available for him to choose from behind the bench. I was at Market Square Arena for Wayne’s 1st pro game in ’78 and I’ve been a fan ever since, despite his sub-par coaching career. Not showing to support the players, coaches and the staff… well, that changes everything.
    Tsk, tsk, Mr. Gretzky. Tsk, tsk.

    I am looking forward to/hoping for one last season of desert hockey and can honestly say I welcome the relocation if it means a brighter future for the team(but not to KC, for the love of Gord!).

    PS: The Honorable Judge Baum’s docket is clear today, Thursday and Friday of this week. Round 2 coming up?,%20SEPTEMBER%2021,%202009

  2. Pingback: Are we onto ‘Something’? Time for the ‘Real Truth’! « Make It Eight, eh? Hockey again for Winnipeg!

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