Wayne Gretzky joins TNT’s NHL coverage ‘for $ 3 million a year’ after Charles Barkley recruiting

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The Great One, Wayne Gretzky, has resigned from Edmonton Oilers’ front office to sign a TV deal with Turner Sports after being recruited to the network by friend and NBA analyst Charles Barkley.

Turner Sports has reached a multi-year agreement with Gretzky to become a studio analyst when coverage of the NHL begins in October. He will appear at key moments in the regular season – including opening week and the Winter Classic – and then at the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The New York Post reports that Gretzky will be paid $ 3 million annually.

Turner’s seven-year deal starts next season. In addition to regular season and playoff games, it also includes the 2023, ’25 and ’27 Stanley Cup Finals on the TNT cable network.

Wayne Gretzky has resigned from Edmonton Oilers' front office to sign a TV deal with Turner Sports after being recruited to the network by friend and NBA analyst Charles Barkley.

Wayne Gretzky has resigned from Edmonton Oilers’ front office to sign a TV deal with Turner Sports after being recruited to the network by friend and NBA analyst Charles Barkley.

Gretzky said during a phone interview with The Associated Press that the opportunity to join Turner, as well as some other changes, have made it the perfect time to move into an analyst role. Gretzky and his wife, Janet, moved to Missouri earlier this year to be closer to his mother-in-law, 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 my father and my youngest who were going to college this year passed away, now might be a good time to move. We’ve become somewhat empty nesters, ”he said. “Atlanta is an hour from Florida and an hour from St. Louis. So I think the stars were aligned. We spend a lot of time with our family, and I get to do what I love to do, which is to talk about hockey. ‘

Gretzky said Turner contacted him about a possible role a few months ago. He also got a recruiting pitch from Barkley, his former neighbor. The two lived close together in Arizona, where Gretzky once coached the Coyotes and Barkley played for the Phoenix Suns.

Gretzky said Turner contacted him about a possible role a few months ago.  He also got a recruiting pitch from Barkley, his former neighbor

Gretzky said Turner contacted him about a possible role a few months ago. He also got a recruiting pitch from Barkley, his former neighbor

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

“I’ll be honest and forthright, but I’m not controversial in any way,” Gretzky said. And to be clear, I will be much more positive than negative. That’s just my nature. You can still be critical without going over the edge. ‘

Gretzky said during a phone interview with The Associated Press that the opportunity to join Turner, as well as some other changes, have made it the perfect time to move into an analyst role.  Gretzky and his wife, Janet (left), moved to Missouri earlier this year to be closer to his mother-in-law, who turns 100 in August

Gretzky said during a phone interview with The Associated Press that the opportunity to join Turner, as well as some other changes, have made it the perfect time to move into an analyst role. Gretzky and his wife, Janet (left), moved to Missouri earlier this year to be closer to his mother-in-law, who turns 100 in August

While Gretzky is admittedly more shy than Barkley, he does bring 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 front offices in Phoenix and Edmonton.

Just as he did when he brought the game to new fans when it was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988, Gretzky hopes to continue to expand the reach of the game.

“I think the game is in a better position than ever before. The young players in the game today are excellent athletes and they represent the game as it should be, ‘he said. ‘And I am 60 years old. I don’t need the stress of running a hockey team every day. But this gives me the chance to talk about the game and take it to another level.

“ I think everyone who was a player in the National Hockey League has a responsibility to try and grow the game, and if I can help turn Turner into a positive place for people to look at, I’m all for it. In all seriousness, I wish I could still play, but unfortunately that’s not going to happen. ‘

Gretzky will be watching the playoffs in the coming months before taking the analyst chair. He sees home ice become a bigger factor as arenas continue to expand their capacity. There also remains uncertainty as to whether Canada will open the border for the Northern Division champions to travel during the semifinals and finals, or whether they will have to move to the United States.

“It’s hard to predict right now because you have to play the game for game,” he said. “It’s never been more true because of COVID, but I think we’re ready for it now.”

Gretzky will be most remembered for winning four Stanley Cups as a member of the Oilers

Gretzky will be most remembered for winning four Stanley Cups as a member of the Oilers

Gretzky has resigned as vice chairman of the Edmonton Oilers as part of the move to Turner. He returned to the franchise that he helped lead to four Stanley Cups in 2016, including working on the corporate side and supporting development initiatives in the Rogers Place Arena district.

After setting NHL records for points (2,857), goals (894) and assists (1,963), career after playing was not that easy.

He became minority owner of the Coyotes in 2000 before finally becoming the team’s head coach in 2005, leading the club to a 143-161-24 in four seasons.

He later became the executive director of the Canadian national men’s team and initially got off to a slow start at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, before finally taking the country’s first gold medal in 50 years.

However, the team failed to win medals at the 2006 Turin Games in what was considered a national disgrace for Canada.

Aside from Gretzky, Turner has rounded up Kenny Albert and Eddie Olczyk as his best announcement team. Albert and Olczyk are NBC’s top duo and will move to Turner at the end of the Stanley Cup Finals.

“The exciting additions from Wayne, Kenny and Eddie will jump-start our NHL coverage featuring 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 incomparable in-game experiences and unparalleled in-depth knowledge will add a distinct dimension to our game and studio coverage. We are delighted to welcome them to the Turner Sports family. ‘

Leon Draisaltl # 29 and Connor McDavid # 97 of the Edmonton Oilers, Coach Rick Tocchet and Wayne Gretzky watch from the couch during the 2020 NHL All-Star Game between the Pacific Division and Central Division at the Enterprise Center on January 25, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri

Leon Draisaltl # 29 and Connor McDavid # 97 of the Edmonton Oilers, Coach Rick Tocchet and Wayne Gretzky watch from the couch during the 2020 NHL All-Star Game between the Pacific Division and Central Division at the Enterprise Center on January 25, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri

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