"Future Plans" of New Owners Drive "Great One" Out of Desert
"The Great One"
The Phoenix Coyotes' now former-coach, who also happens to be the greatest hockey player in the history of the sport, is attributing his somewhat expected resignation to the "future plans" of potential owners.
Wayne Gretzky resigned as the coach of the Phoenix Coyotes this morning, in the midst of an almost comical crisis that might have the team leaving the sun-soaked desert for the frozen tundra of Canada.
"This was a difficult decision that I've thought long and hard about," Gretzky says on his Web site. "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 manager 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."
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Despite the Coyotes despicable record (143-161-24) with the "Great One" at the helm and never making the playoffs, for any owner to not want the leading scorer in NHL history to coach their team is absurd.
The two remaining bidders for the team are Jim Balsillie and the NHL itself. For NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to not see Wayne Gretzky in his "future plans" is borderline negligent.
Gretzky was the face of professional hockey for nearly two decades and back then people actually watched.
For a while, Gretzky was one of the few reasons to even go see a Coyotes game.
Gretzky could be a great coach here in the desert if he were given a decent team, which he hasn't had since he arrived in the Valley in 2005.
Consider this: When Shane Doan or a withered Jeremy Roenick are the faces of a franchise, perhaps the team could do a little more to attract some talent. .
Gretzky played under Barry Melrose and Glen Sather, two of the greatest minds in hockey history. Chances are he learned something and should be given a legitimate chance to prove it as part of a stable franchise and its "future plans."
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