It’s been a rough week for the Edmonton Oilers and their fans. On Monday night the Oilers fell to the Winnipeg Jets, 4-3, in triple overtime, and as a result were swept by the Jets in their first round series, 4-0. Then just a few hours later the team’s icon resigned from the team.
Wayne Gretzky announced on Tuesday that he was stepping down as vice chairman of the Edmonton Oilers after the Jets swept them out of the Stanley Cup playoffs Monday.
— Wayne Gretzky (@WayneGretzky) May 25, 2021
But the move is less about the Oilers poor showing in this years playoffs and more about an opportunity for “The Great One”. Gretzky will be a lead analyst on Turner’s premier studio show after agreeing to a contract that will pay him in the neighborhood of $3 million per season, according to sources. TNT and ESPN will takeover all NHL coverage in the U.S. starting after the end of this year’s Stanley Cup final.
According to the New York Post, ESPN and Gretzky failed to reach a deal to bring Gretzky to Bristol, leaving TNT as the clear favorite, The Post reported nearly three weeks ago. Turner, with Gretzky’s buddy Charles Barkley serving as a recruiter, closed the deal.
TNT and ESPN will take over NHL coverage from NBC beginning next season, and TNT is trying to build something that feels as central to the NHL as Barkley’s “Inside the NBA.”
By Jon Sorensen