VANCOUVER, B.C. – Wayne Gretzky is hoping for NHL hockey in both Phoenix and Hamilton.
The Coyotes coach is on the sidelines watching Jim Balsillie and the NHL spar over the future of the Arizona franchise and hockey in Southern Ontario. It hasn’t been easy.
“It’s been tough for everyone,” Gretzky said Tuesday at a Samsung 2010 Olympic sponsorship event. “It’s been tough for fans of the Phoenix Coyotes, it’s been tough for the organization, but on the other side of it, Hamilton is a great city and one day it will probably eventually get an NHL franchise, so it’s a tough scenario for both sides. Right now obviously we just are all sitting back and waiting to see what that outcome is and, to this point in time, we really don’t know, there is no definite answer.
“The best-case scenario would be eventually that both cities have an NHL team.”
While Gretzky has kept a low profile during the bankruptcy process, his name has been raised because of a reported US$22.5 million owed him.
As for his future as coach and part-owner, Gretzky said he is not looking too far ahead.
“I haven’t really talked to anybody, you know until something happens and something concrete, there is really no need to surmise or wonder what’s going to happen. From my point of view, I just want what’s best for the organization, what’s best for the city of Phoenix and hopefully what’s best for Hamilton one day.”
Gretzky said he’s not finding the wait stressful.
“At this point of time in the year, it’s up to the management and the scouts to get ready for the draft and as coaches we just sit back and analyze and start getting ready for next season and right now it’s in the hands of the commissioner and his office and the court system and we’ll see what happens.”