Wayne Gretzky going into hockey broadcasting with Turner Sports

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Wayne Gretzky is entering the hockey broadcasting world.

The NHL's all-time leading scorer signed a multi-year deal to become a studio analyst with American-based Turner Sports on Wednesday.

The NHL reached multi-year deals with Turner Sports and ESPN for their American television coverage earlier this year, which will end the league's association with NBC starting next season.

Gretzky resigned as vice-chairman of the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, saying he could not devote the time needed to the franchise given the pandemic and life changes.

Turner Sports has earned critical acclaim for its use of former basketball players Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal on its NBA coverage.

The 60-year-old Gretzky, a native of Brantford, Ont., has worked throughout the hockey industry since retiring as a player in 1999.

“I’ve long admired Turner Sports’ coverage of the NBA, among other sports, and I’m thrilled to be joining the studio team in their inaugural NHL season,” Gretzky said in a statement. “This is an exciting opportunity to share my experiences and perspectives on the game I will always cherish, while hopefully informing and entertaining fans along the way.”

Gretzky was coach of the Phoenix Coyotes for four seasons and 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.

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.

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

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

Turner Sports also announced veteran play-by-play commentator Kenny Albert and former NHL player Eddie Olczyk will call games on TNT and TBS.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2021.

The Canadian Press