GRETZKY NAMED HOCKEY AMBASSADOR
Although National Hockey League great Wayne Gretzky hung up his skates in 1999 his work with the National Hockey League is still not over.
He’s been named the league’s official ambassador for it’s centennial year, the Canadian Press announced Tuesday afternoon. The League, which started in November of 1917 with six teams now boasts 30 and there is speculation that a couple more teams may be entering the NHL. Among them is Los Vegas.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said as ambassador he will be presiding over several different activities planned for the league’s centennial year. Among them will be the January 1st Centennial Classic. It will be an old fashioned outdoor hockey game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings at BMO Field in Toronto. He will also be host of the Winter Classic to be held in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In addition, he will be joined with three other star hockey players as part of The All Star Game in Los Angeles. His companions will be Mark Messier, Teemu Selanne and Dale Howerchuk. During the festivities, the NHL will unveil the list of its top 100 players.
“I’ve always said this thousands of times. It’s the greatest game in the world. Everything I have in my life is because of the NHL and the game of hockey. So when the commissioner called me a couple of months ago and asked if I wanted to be involved, I said “Absolutely.”
“I know his love of the game and I also knew his respect for the history and tradition of the game. It didn’t take a lot of discussion. There was no arm twisting.’ Bettman said.
Although the last time Gretzky hit the ice was in 2009 where he served as coach and part owner of the Phoenix Coyotes, his opinions still mean a lot to the hockey world.
Throughout the years he has given thumbs up to the World Cup of Hockey and also gave his views on Canada’s dominance in international hockey events. He was asked recently to give his opinion on Pittsburgh Penguins super hockey star, Sydney Crosby and the phenomena Oiler rookie Connor McDavid.
“I think Crosby is the best player in the game. I think he’s the best player because he works the hardest. Even though he’s got a God-given talent, he’s still the hardest working guy on the ice.”
“And I like McDavid. I think this kid’s going to be a tremendous superstar and a great player for our sport for a long time to come.”