Wayne Gretzky’s time with the Oilers has come to an end (again).
After joining the team its vice chairman in 2016, Gretzky released a statement on Tuesday saying that he intends to “step away” from his post.
Here’s a look at his comments via Twitter.
Gretzky’s departure comes less than 24 hours after the Oilers were swept out of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs. Edmonton was favored to win the series over Winnipeg, but the Jets managed to win the series 4-0 after a triple-overtime victory over their North Division rival.
However, the Oilers’ performance didn’t appear to have anything to do with Gretzky’s departure. Instead, it was a broadcasting deal that lured him away from his post.
Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Gretzky signed a contract with TNT “in the neighborhood of $3 million per season.” Per Marchand, Charles Barkley served as a key recruiter in helping TNT acquire Gretzky’s services for their new NHL programming.
ESPN and TNT are taking over the NHL broadcast rights starting with the 2021-22 season. NBC had previously owned them.
Needless to say, getting Gretzky is a big move for TNT. Some would even call it a great one.