Wayne Gretzky Believes Cooler Heads Will Prevail and the Oilers Will “Hammer Out a Deal” with the City of EdmontonSeptember 28, 2012 – 8:15 am by Brad Gagnon
So Wayne Gretzky was at the Seahawks game Monday night in Seattle, as was Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz. And it just so happens that rumors are swirling that the Oilers could move to Seattle if they can’t come to an agreement with the city of Edmonton on a new arena deal.
Coincidences everywhere? In Gretzky’s words, yes.
Wayne Gretzky joined Nick Kypreos, Doug MacLean, and Daren Millard on The Fan 590 in Toronto to discuss a potential move for the Oilers and his involvement with the NHL (or lack thereof).
On the chances the Oilers move to a place like Seattle:
“Probably zero. I just don’t see it happening. I think, over time here, cooler heads are going to prevail and Daryl and the city will hammer out a deal and get it done. They’re probably a lot closer than other cities have been over the years at getting a deal done, so I can’t see them moving. It’s one of the greatest franchises in all of professional sports. You don’t move a great franchise like that. So hopefully cooler heads prevail and they all sit down and get a deal done.”
On if he was at Monday night’s football game in any official capacity:
“Zero. I just went to watch the football game. I tell people I’m not involved with the National Hockey League and sometimes people go, ‘Well, you are.’ But I’m really not. It’s just one of those things where I was invited to go to a football game and I said, ‘Why not? I’d love to go.’ So my son and I went. But to any official capacity, absolutely zero. I have no stake or no claim in any team in the National Hockey League whatsoever, and went there to enjoy a football game. Simple as that.”
On his belief that a deal will get done between the Oilers and the city:
“I just can’t imagine a deal not getting done. He’s come to the table with some big dollars and the city’s come to the table with some big dollars. They seem to be ahead of the game more than other cities that have tried to build new arenas. They seem to be very close to getting a deal done, so hopefully, ultimately, both sides are happy and they get a beautiful new building built in downtown Edmonton that will keep the Oilers there for another hundred years.”
On the difficulties with the revenue-sharing system that has been such a huge dividing point during the NHL lockout:
“The problem is that the 10 teams that are losing money are losing drastic money, so we’ve gotta figure out a formula. Listen, there’s only so many franchises that have the wherewithal — places like Vancouver, places like the Rangers and places like Toronto — but … there’s the other side of it, too — the Floridas and Phoenix and even Dallas now has struggled over the last couple of years at putting people into the seats. And part of that has to do with the economy right now. The economy’s not great, and it’s very expensive to go to a hockey game. And then you have cities that sell out every game and still struggle because the average ticket price, say, in St. Louis, are not that of what they are in places like Toronto or New York. So I don’t know what the right formula is.”
On players departing to play overseas due to the lockout:
“There’s only one NHL. It’s the greatest league in the world, and guys I know are going to Europe and in places like that it’s just not the same. It really isn’t. The cities that we have here and the game that we have here and the history of the National Hockey League, there’s only one NHL. And I just hope that they can rectify this because we need to see hockey back where it belongs, and that’s in the arenas and not on the business pages.”