Wayne Gretzky joins Turner Sports as NHL studio analyst

For the past two decades, Wayne Gretzky has been one of the most famous athletes in the world. Now, he’s finally getting his break on television, in a high-profile job that should draw a lot of attention. Gretzky has been hired by Turner Sports to work as an NHL studio analyst on its new 24/7 cable network, which is scheduled to launch in January.

The NHL, which is wrapped up in the lockout, is now ready to get on with the regular season, so now is the time to start looking ahead to next season. A new season brings new hope and expectations. And one of the biggest question marks for the 2013-14 season is what the new season holds for the NHL’s broadcast network. After a record number of Canadian viewers watched last year’s playoffs, there are many people who are excited about what awaits in the 2013-14 season: will Rogers Network get a new TV deal in Canada? Will the NHL experience a new era of profitability?

Turner Sports is the home of the biggest names in sports and news. The company’s current roster includes the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and NCAA. On March 1, 2017, they announced the addition of a new addition to their media family: Wayne Gretzky. The hockey legend will join a roster of experts who help viewers enjoy the game of ice and sports.

The big man moves from the office to the cable TV studio.

Turner Sports has signed Wayne Gretzky to a multi-year contract for the role of studio analyst when the National Hockey League begins in October. He will appear at key points in the regular season – including the opening week and the Winter Classic – and then in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Turner’s seven-year contract begins next season. In addition to regular season and playoff games, it also includes the 2023, 2025 and 2027 Stanley Cup Finals on TNT cable.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Gretzky said the opportunity to join Turner, along with other changes, made it the perfect time to take on the analyst role. Mr. Gretzky and his wife, Janet, moved to Missouri earlier this year to be closer to their mother-in-law, who turns 100 in August.

The move from California also allows them to be closer to their two grandchildren who live in South Florida.

We thought that with my father passing away and my youngest daughter leaving for college this year, it would be a good time to move. We’ve become kind of empty nesters, he said. Atlanta is an hour from Florida and an hour from St. Louis. Louis. So I guess the stars align. We spend a lot of time together as a family and I get to do what I love most: talk about hockey.

In addition to Gretzky, Turner finally confirmed Kenny Albert and Eddie Olczyk as the lead announcers. Albert and Olczyk are the NBC management duo that will join Turner after the Stanley Cup Finals.

Wayne, Kenny and Eddie, who will fill our NHL coverage with some of the best and brightest talent in sports, said Tara August, Senior Vice President of Talent Relations and Special Projects at Turner Sports. Their unparalleled experience in the games industry and in-depth knowledge adds a special dimension to our coverage of games and studios. We look forward to welcoming him to the Turner Sports family.

Gretzky has resigned as vice-president of the Edmonton Oilers as part of his move to Turner. In 2016, he returned to the team he led to four Stanley Cups and became involved in business and support initiatives to develop the Rogers Place Arena area.

Gretzky said Turner contacted him a few months ago about a possible role. He also got a call from his former roommate and TNT Inside the NBA analyst Charles Barkley.

Although he and Barkley are good friends, Gretzky said no one should expect him to have the same style or impact as Barkley, who is a big hockey fan.

I’m going to be honest and direct, but not at all controversial, Gretzky said. And to be clear, I’m going to be positive instead of negative. It’s just my nature. You can be critical without overstepping your boundaries.

While Gretzky is certainly more timid than Barkley, he has the ability to analyze the game from all angles. In addition to a brilliant 20-year career as the NHL’s top scorer, he coached the Coyotes for four seasons and was a member of the Phoenix and Edmonton management teams.

Gretzky hopes to continue expanding the scope of the game, as he did when he transferred to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988.

I think the game is in a better position now than it ever was, he said. Today’s young players are exceptional athletes and represent the game as it should be played.

And I’m 60 years old. I don’t need the stress of running a hockey team on a daily basis. But it gives me a chance to talk about the game and take it to the next level.

I think everyone who has played in the National Hockey League is responsible for the development of the game, and if I can help make Turner a positive place for people, I’m all for that. Seriously, though: I would love to keep playing, but unfortunately that’s not going to happen.

Gretzky will be watching the playoffs for the next few months before sitting in the analyst chair. He believes that home ice will become an increasingly important factor as arena capacity continues to increase. It’s also unclear if Canada will open the border so the Northern Division champion can travel during the semifinals and finals, or if the division winner will have to travel to the United States.

It’s hard to make a prediction now because you have to take it one game at a time, he said. That was never so true because of COVID, but I think we’ve reached that point now.

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