Former Edmonton Oilers great Wayne Gretzky poses for a photograph in Toronto on December 10, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Former Edmonton Oilers great Wayne Gretzky poses for a photograph in Toronto on December 10, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Wayne Gretzky steps down from front-office role with Edmonton Oilers

The 60-year-old says he will not be able to “dedicate the time nor effort needed to support this world-class organization’

Wayne Gretzky says he is stepping down as vice-chairman of the Edmonton Oilers.

Gretzky said in a statement on Twitter on Tuesday he is making the decision, “given the pandemic and other life changes.”

The 60-year-old Gretzky says he will not be able to “dedicate the time nor effort needed to support this world-class organization.”

The move comes one day after the Oilers were eliminated from the playoffs when the Winnipeg Jets completed a sweep of Edmonton in the first round. The Oilers featured the league’s top two regular-season scorers in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

“The Oilers, their fans and the city of Edmonton have meant the world to me for four decades — and that will never end,” Gretzky said.

The NHL’s all-time leading scorer and a four-time Stanley Cup winner as a player with Edmonton, Gretzky returned to a front-office role with the Oilers in 2016.

In his bio on the Oilers’ website, the team says Gretzky’s duties included working with the Oilers Entertainment Group team on the commercial side of the business, as well as supporting development initiatives in the district where the Rogers Place arena is located.

The team said Gretzky worked closely with owner Daryl Katz and Oilers chairman Bob Nicholson in all aspects of the organization.

Ken Holland is the team’s general manager and president of hockey operations.

Gretzky was not involved in day-to-day dealings with the media during his time in the Oilers front office.

Gretzky returned to his hometown of Brantford, Ont., after his dad, Walter, died in March and delivered an emotional eulogy in a nationally-televised ceremony.

Rogers Place opened in 2016, and co-hosted the Stanley Cup playoffs with Toronto last summer in front of no fans because of COVID-19. The Tampa Bay Lightning ended up hoisting the Stanley Cup in Edmonton.

The arena also was the site of the world junior hockey championship, played in front of no fans, during the most recent Christmas holidays.

As a player, Gretzky led the Oilers to four NHL titles before he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in a blockbuster deal in 1988. He went on to play for the St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers before retiring in 1999.

After his playing career, Gretzky went into coaching with the Phoenix Coyotes for four seasons.

Gretzky also was executive director of Canada’s men’s Olympic hockey team in 2002 and 2006. The ‘02 team won gold in Salt Lake City.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

NHL

Just Posted

Work has begun on the $10-million, 120-kilometre fibre-optic line from Playmor Junction to north of Nakusp. File photo
Work begins on Slocan Valley fibre-optic line

The $10-million, 120-kilometre fibre-optic line runs from Playmor Junction to north of Nakusp

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Secondary School in Creston

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for Prince Charles Secondary School

Jade Osecki leading a Fridays for Future climate march in Nelson in 2020. Photo: Submitted
Nelson Grade 12 student Jade Osecki wins Suzy Hamilton Award

Carolyn Schramm was also honoured in this year’s environmental award for West Kootenay women

Photo courtesy of Mercer Celgar
Mercer Celgar to install new technology thanks to $4.5 million in federal funds

Project features process to improve fibre processing and address regional fibre availability issues

Asian clams versus native B.C. clams comparison. Photo: Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society
Invasive Asian Clams found in Pend D’Oreille River

Watercraft users and anglers are urged to clean, drain and dry gear

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Most Read