Wayne Gretzky has made a surprising move. He is leaving his senior position with the Edmonton Oilers for a role within TNT’s NHL coverage. This comes shortly after the team was eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets. The New York Post provided a summary of the situation Tuesday afternoon.
Wayne Gretzky joining TNT's NHL coverage after leaving Oilers post https://t.co/CDzvVCY0Rz pic.twitter.com/FEz9t7Df07
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) May 25, 2021
Wayne Gretzky Leaves Oilers for TNT
Gretzky is obviously one of the most prolific players to ever skate in a game of hockey, but he has failed to recapture that same level of success as an executive. He became a member of the Oilers leadership group in 2016, but the team has just three postseason births in that time and none past the second round. Nobody would blame Gretzky solely for the failures of the hockey operations department. However, one cannot help but wonder why his knowledge and experience never trickled down to the ice in a consistent way.
What This Means Moving Forward
It will be interesting to see how Gretzky does as an on-air personality. Other sports have seen experienced individuals sit behind a microphone in recent years with mixed results. The NFL has received widespread praise for Tony Romo’s intelligent insight, but Jason Witten was mostly a flop in a similar position. The good thing is that TNT seems to be quite good at putting former stars in roles to succeed. That includes their NBA coverage featuring multiple former players like Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith. That should give the network an advantage when it comes to replacing NBC’s place in the hockey broadcast landscape. Gretzky certainly doesn’t need the exposure, but he clearly wants to remain a visible presence in the hockey world. This latest move gives him just that. Only time will reveal if the future of hockey media is an improvement or not.
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